This week, In These Times published a fascinating piece on the ugly inner workings of the union busting industry. Assuming the identity of a small New York City business owner, Art Levine went undercover to an anti-union seminar held by Jackson Lewis, an infamous law firm which helps other companies bust unions.
Levine's piece gives us a good look at the early stages of union-busting: a hush-hush seminar which starts out by frightening business owners and managers about the alleged dangers of unionization, and follows up with some basic anti-union legal advice. There's no surprise there; indeed, labor law is replete with loopholes which can be exploited to thwart unionization.
What is surprising is the expense and difficulty which is imposed on the union-buster's client - i.e., the manager or business owner who wishes to avoid unionization. After all, to go to the seminar, Levine had to chip in travel expenses plus a $1,500 entrance fee, as well as two solid days of time. That amounts to a pretty serious cash outlay. What's more, participating in the seminar and doing business with Jackson Lewis don't sound like remotely pleasant activities. The seminar and follow-up free half-hour phone consultation which Levine describes both sound like fairly high-pressure ordeals meant to persuade participants to pay the firm exorbitant fees to solve what may be an imaginary problem. The Jackson Lewis attorneys sound like textbook cases of predatory salespeople.
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