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AFL-CIO New Mexico
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neighborhood walks in June.
June 11, 2004
Labor 2004 Rally
at Albuquerque Civic Plaza brings together representatives from more than 20
locals to hear Linda Chavez Thompson, AFL-CIO National Vice President.
Christine Trujillo, AFL-CIO/NM President also brought Congressional, Judicial,
and PRC candidates to the podium to add their encouragement to members to change
the direction of the country through this year's election.
La Montaņita Food Co-Op dispute
The Alibi, Feb. 5-11, 2004
Compiled By Sara Hiatt
Union? No. The fight for a union at
La Montaņita Food Co-op
is over and workers have lost. Pro-union workers, sounding sad and
defeated, have reported that the union representing them has stopped
unionization efforts before it came to an employee vote because of
lack of support.
The International Aerospace and Machinists'
Union (IAM), which is representing the workers, requires a pre-vote
poll to see if the majority of workers support a union. If enough
workers had signed their names, pledging that they would vote for a
union in the upcoming election, the process would have continued as
planned and the election, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 4, would
But IAM bylaws dictate that if enough
signatures are not collected--in this case, only 40 instead of the
50 needed--the process must stop and the election not happen. That
way, employees can try again in six months to form a union. But if
the election occurs and employees vote to not have a union, workers
must wait a full year before organization efforts can begin again.
This is after the two-thirds employee vote required by the National
Labor Board to file for a union in the first place.
Pro-union employees, with the help of IAM
members, had spent this past weekend drumming up support for the
union. They spent Thursday, Jan. 29 through Saturday, Jan. 31
visiting some employees at their homes and calling others with the
hopes of getting the 50 signatures required by the IAM to continue
to an election.
And on Friday, Jan. 30, they held a
teach-in at the Co-op's Nob Hill annex, a last-ditch effort in the
long battle between some Co-op employees and the company's
Pro-union employees have been angry over
management's tactics to dissuade employees from voting for the
union, including offering discussion meetings for which employees
are paid and where management explains why they feel a union isn't
right for the grocery stores. Anti-union literature has been given
out with paychecks as well.
In response, for several weeks these
employees, including Shoshana Handel, one of the organizers of the
employee movement, had been asking store management to allow John
Lamar, an IAM representative to speak to employees. The reason,
Handel said, is because she wants fellow employees to be able to
hear a pro-union side of things at their place of employment, since
they were already hearing the anti-union side.
She also said there were many
misconceptions among employees about the union, such as that
benefits, especially for part-time employees, would be lost if a
union formed because all benefits would have to be negotiated from
scratch. Instead, employees would have complete control over what
happened with benefits, because they would vote on things like
benefits every step of the way, Lamar said.
Management had previously refused to allow
a union representative to speak at the store. But last week, the
Co-op's general manager, C.E. Pugh, announced that employees could
invite a union representative to the annex for an informational
And while the employees this weekend were
welcome to hear what Lamar had to say, the public and Co-op members
were not. Two employees stood sentinel at either side of the
entrance's big doors, having been given strict instructions to
unlock the doors by punching in the pass code for Co-op employees
Last week, pro-union employees held a
question and answer session at the IAM union lodge on Pine Street,
but only about 15 workers showed up. Holding a meeting at the
Co-op's annex, a kind of conference room at the back of the store,
had a greater turnout because it's an easy meeting place for
employees, Handel said. It also sent the message that learning more
about the unionization issue isn't a crime, and that's important for
some employees who say the store's climate of hostility and tension
makes being pro-union uncomfortable.
But despite their best efforts, the
pro-union workers were 10 signatures short of their requirement,
with only 40 employees pledging to vote for the union. Handel says
she can count where those votes were lost: five people who signed
the original petition to unionize were excluded because they were
considered middle management by the company or were clerical workers
and could not join the union. Another five quit since they signed
the original petition.
She said she was disappointed in her fellow
employees who chose not to vote for the union, but added that
management was so heavy handed with anti-union propaganda that she
could see how many of the Co-op's 108 employees could be dissuaded.
Handel said she was tired after fighting
hard to convince her fellow workers and probably won't stay with the
company long enough to try again in six months. She gave up all of
her free time to concentrate on the union, she said, and didn't have
time to even clean her house.
But, she added, all it takes for a union to
happen is for other workers to band together.
"There needs to be 10 people who aren't
afraid," she said. "Then I could see it happening."
Š 1996-2004 Weekly Alibi
January 18, 2004
Dear Friends: You may or may not know about
this, but there's a big battle going on at La Montaņita Co-op around the
attempt of the employees to form a union. The shocking thing is that
what should be a natural and legal right of all workers, to join together to
bargain with management on wages and working conditions, is being actively
opposed by management and, presumably, the Board. What is most
disturbing, of course, is that this is happening at a business founded under
moral and ethical principles: respect for the environment, respect for
our community, respect for ourselves and our bodies, etc.
La Montaņita Food Co-Op dispute
Our COPE chair, Mark Rudd, expresses concern
The following paragraph, written by an employee who is pro-union, will
give you a brief summary:
La Montaņita Co-op Management is aggressively trying to stop its
employees from unionizing. When management heard that employees were
interested in joining a union they immediately hired a "union avoidance"
consultant named Paul Sommerville who "educated" managers on how to
prevent workers from organizing.
Fortunately, two thirds of Co-op
employees signed a petition to request an election to join the
Machinist's union and sent it to the National Labor Relations Board
prior to Mr. Sommerville's arrival. Management has stated to us in
writing that they "... will resist this and any other attempts to
organize La Montanita associates to the fullest extent possible under
federal law". So far, they have been doing just that.
We have been
inundated with a constant stream of anti-union propaganda as Management
attempts to manipulate us into voting against the union. Management
also hired a notorious anti-union lawyer named Bill Tinnin to represent
them before the Labor Board. As a result, the vote was delayed and many
employees were excluded by management from being able to vote. C.E.
Pugh, the General Manager, has spent thousands of dollars in his
attempts to stop us from organizing and is creating an atmosphere of
fear and doubt. The election is scheduled for February 4th. It is
important to TELL MANAGEMENT that we, the members, oppose our money
being used to deny workers the right to organize.
Mark continues: I have seen some of the material and talking
points circulated by management, and they are a standard fabric of lies
used by all anti-union employers, public and private: unions are
inherently violent, unions take away workers' individual freedoms, unions
force people to pay dues against their wishes, unions force people to
strike, unions are deceitful, unions destroy the happy family of the
Speaking of happy families, you may be
surprised to learn, as I was, that many employees at the coop are paid
in the 7.00/hr range and also that their hours are limited to
"part-time" (35 hr/./week). Management's biggest argument against the
workers organizing is that a union will "destroy the co-op." Presumably
this means that unions will demand higher wages for employees that the
business cannot pay, prices will go up, and members and customers will
defect to Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Walmart, and whoever else is a
But what is at stake right now is the basic
RIGHT of workers to organize. This right has got to be supported by all
members (and the Board) if we are to be true to our principles of
respect for each other and moral principles at the core of the co-op
idea. We have to believe that the employees will bargain for wages that
will not destroy the co-op anymore than managers will not grant
themselves too high salaries (and destroy the coop) or that the Board
will not tamely go along with management and themselves destroy the
What seems to be happening now is that the coop ideal is being
WHAT TO DO: First, let the Board know that you, as a
member, support the right of employees to organize a union. There will
be a Board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 5:30 PM at Immanuel Presbyterian
Church, 114 Carlisle SE (around the corner from the co-op). If you
can't attend the meeting, call the Co-op for a list of Board members. Second, tell the employees that you are on
their side. There will be a meeting to support the right of employees
to form a union Monday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 PM at the Albuquerque Center
for Peace and Justice, 202 Harvard SD. Please speak out, and also
let other people know what's going on. Please circulate this message
to your own lists.
Mark Rudd 877-5017
September 1, 2003
Heroes Banquet Honors Local Workers
The Central New Mexico Labor Council honors the
following at their second annual Rank-and-File Heroes Banquet this Labor
|Former president of the New Mexico Federation of
Labor Neal Gonzalez|
|The late Jeanne Guana, former head of the SouthWest
|Former New Mexico governor Dave Cargo|
|Writer Rudolfo Anaya|
|All members of the International Association of
Firefighters Local 244|
in Feb and Apr 2003
New Course about the Labor Movement in New
This 6-week Emeritus Academy class runs Friday evenings
from Feb. February 7 thru March 14 at Montoya Campus and in a 2nd section
Saturdays (10 am-1 pm), April 5 thru May 10th at South Valley Campus. It is taught by TVI Employees
member Richard Landavazo. Cost of the class is $50.00,
including all materials. All ages welcome. Cost of the class is
including all materials. All ages welcome. Register by calling the Emeritus Academy at 224-5506 or 224-5504.
Click here to see the course
description and more on NM Labor history.
Albuquerque Area Labor Council Endorses Candidates
The Central Labor Council, the coordinating group for
unions and locals in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia
counties, has endorsed candidates for county offices. In Bernalillo,
Alan Armijo and Joseph Inman, Jr. are recommended for District 1
Commission and County Assessor.
In Sandoval County, recommendations
Sapien, Terry Kopcak, Rudy Casaus, Mary Humphrey, Fred Eichwald, and John
P. Trujillo for Commissioner (District 1 & 3), Assessor,
Magistrate Judge (Div 1&2), and Sheriff positions.
Pat Golden was endorsed for Torrance County Sheriff.
Joan Artiaga is recommended for Valencia County
Commissioner of Dist. 3
Channel 41 is Bad News For Its Workers
In early February, the employees at KLUZ-TV began to
form a union, which cost the job of the main organizer.
Since that time, there has been a clear pattern of
retaliation against those who supported the Union.
On April 26, the employees at KLUZ-TV voted for CWA
local 7011 to be their bargaining agent.
It began with the termination of the inside organizer
on March 28, and continued with the interrogation of employees, negative
campaigning, and threatening and pressuring workers to change their vote.
The worsening behavior of KLUZ Channel 41 culminated in the following
outrageous actions of June 28, 2002:
KLUZ "reorganized" their news
operation. Without any notice to the employees and effective
immediately, its two senior news producers, one editor and one of two
photographers were fired.
Another employee's hours were cut in half,
completely eliminating all benefits.
When the dust cleared, KLUZ management had fired
the most experienced half of its news staff. In an all too familiar
scenario, all of these employees are strong Union Supporters and
advocates of having a stronger voice at work.
KLUZ produces the only Spanish speaking newscasts that
serve the entire state of New Mexico and southern Colorado. Not only is
it a disservice to the Spanish community but also to the working families
of KLUZ. The station has now hired freelance workers to replace the
Your support and help is needed. Call KLUZ's General
Manager at 341-6111 to protest the loss of service to the Spanish community
and the biased treatment of loyal employees who want a Voice at Work.
Workers Memorial Day
To honor those who have died on the job and to
emphasize the efforts of those who work to prevent worker injuries and
A memorial observation was held in Albuquerque at the Workers
Memorial Park, 1900 San Mateo NE on Sunday, April 28th. The
observance began in 1971; the local mini-park was renamed and dedicated in
Websites to visit:
Check out the 2002 Death on The Job report with new state-by-state data
on workplace safety and other Workers Memorial Day resources on the
AFL-CIO Safety and Health website at the link below.
Send a fax to your senators. Tell them to support protection from
ergonomic injuries--like carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries--the
most widespread job safety problem in America. #
Visit the Working Families e-Activist Network page and
see the legislation they support to improve/maintain better lives for