Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meet Jackson Lewis , FedEx's Inspiration For "FedEx Workplace Website "?

Jackson Lewis presents itself as a reputable "national workplace law firm," yet under its polished veneer lies a for-profit unionbuster. In fact, Jackson Lewis is one of the oldest and largest union avoidance law firms in the nation. Jackson Lewis counsels businesses on labor relations strategies that prevent unions from entering the workplace. By operating in the shadows of corporate unionbusting campaigns, the firm remains virtually unknown to the general public.
Jackson Lewis capitalizes on ineffective labor laws, the desperation of some employers to remain union free, and the use of scare tactics to portray unions as an enemy to businesses.1 One of the firm's lawyers iterates the modus operandi of Jackson Lewis best: "Jackson Lewis was founded on the concept of preventive labor relations, and we want to help our clients before there's full-blown organizing. We are a full-service law firm. We just don't do the legal stuff-we handle the campaign." As with other unionbusting firms Jackson Lewis profits off manipulation of a weak labor law system to help its clients avoid unions, at all costs.
"Preventive" Labor Relations Practices
Jackson Lewis sells a variety of services to employers to prevent workers from ever considering a union. Here are a few examples of the firm's activities:
* Vulnerability Assessments: The firm provides audits as the first step for employers looking to avoid a union organizing campaign. By assessing an employer's vulnerability through measures such as weaknesses in management-employee communication and levels of workplace satisfaction among employees.2 The assessment aims to create an "issue-free" workplace where management makes clear that their business desires to remain union-free.
* "How To Stay Union Free" Seminars: These two-day intensive workshops are for a "bona-fide management representative" only. Seminars with provocative titles such as "Union Avoidance War Games"3 take place throughout the country and run an employer anywhere from $595 to $1,595. Jackson Lewis promises a "frightening, valuable, and enjoyable" seminar that completely prepares "supervisors to exercise their union-free rights under the law." A 2007 exposé by a journalist who went undercover at one of these union-free workshops revealed how Jackson Lewis encourages employers to skirt the law when it comes to unions. A Jackson Lewis lawyer reasoned that it is acceptable to fire union organizers, as long as one creates a legitimate reason: "Union sympathizers aren't entitled to any more protection than other workers."
* Union-Free Books, Articles, and Pamphlets: Among the anti-union manuals the firm produces are suggestively titled newsletters such as "Union KNOw -a publication devoted to enhancing the union-free status of clients and friends of Jackson Lewis," and books including "Leveling the Playing Field-What New York Charter Schools' Leaders Need to Know About Union Organizing."


Joe Nuno said...

Jackson Lewis firm is reponsible for website...

Victor Viking said...

How are we going to fix this mess? I still think unionization isn’t a bad thing in principle. In fact, I have seen it work for me much more than I haven’t. Good unions create a system of checks and balances. However, it’s time for them to really step up their game. Seriously. All of them. Locals need to quit behaving like every day is election day and focus once again on maintaining regular progress for American labor as a whole. Members must abandon entitlement and remember they’re paying for a cause and a contract, not a birth right. Additionally, there are so many ridiculous, legal stipulations for organizing that workers have their hands tied unless there are good programs with proper funding. It’s all possible, but the movement desperately needs some real labor messiahs to lead it in the right direction — brainiacs who care about the future of workers in this nation, who understand tactics beyond the paint thinner and tire slashing stereotypes as well as how to regain public trust intelligently.

FedEx employees have been targeted for unionization for quite some time, and its employees really need to start paying attention now to the impending FUBAR situation. After having read many of the comments on the official FedEx threads, I felt such sadness for their plight. They’re warned not to associate with unions because “all unions want are their money.” Well, duh. Unions want you to pay dues, yes, because people shouldn’t have to work for free. I know how that goes; I paid dues simultaneously to two different unions at one point. One contract was terrible and not enforced properly by the world’s worst agent. The other was beyond amazing. I was happy to dole out dues to both, though, because even in the worse case scenario I was getting a better deal than most. What are you paying for? The negotiation of your future. Your insurance benefits. Your pension. Your raises and rates. Your vacation and option time. Mandated progressive disciplinary programs. Representation. Healthy and non-violent work environment. If that’s not enough, what do you want?

FedEx folks and others have also been frightened by their companies’ claims of corruption within the unions. Oh, THAT again. Thanks, Hollywood. Of course, there’s gonna be corruption. It’s everywhere: churches, school boards, city councils, the Girlscouts, charity groups, tax-evading Joe the Plummers, the Democrats, the Republicans, and so on. I can’t think of anything that could escape potential misconduct without proper effort and enforcement. Members get the leadership they elect. Corruption is a by-product of apathy. If unions weren’t such a huge threat to the wallets of corporate executives, they wouldn’t be regulated as heavily as the pharmaceutical industry. When you get down to it, corruption is not fueled by some guy wanting to fight for the right to leave his work station to use the toilet without fear of being fired. Really.

The good guys are not the ones who want to outsource and offshore labor. They’re not the ones who have to take a five percent cut in pay while their boss makes 32 million dollars. Union evil isn’t the root of corporate failure. Corporate failure is the root of corporate failure. (Read: Don’t blame bailouts on the UAW. Auto workers have been wailing about financial mismanagement for decades.)