Submitted on Sun, 05/05/2013 - 10:48am
On Thursday, May 2 the Sisters' Camelot managing collective posted a long public statement on the internet addressing the current standoff between them and our striking union of canvass workers. Their statement is full of inaccurate information. Below are the most egregious inaccuracies, each with a concise explanation of the truth.
1. Sisters' Camelot: “We operate as an egalitarian democracy where no one member has a larger voice than any other, and all participate equally in the decision-making process. Anyone in the in the community – including the canvassers – can become a member of our collective and therefore have a full voice in its operations.”
THE TRUTH: The collective has refused to allow some canvassers to join the collective when they showed interest. Other canvassers have decided the collective has been hostile towards them and the canvass in general. Many canvassers who have tried addressing canvass-related grievances through the collective process equate it to banging their head against a brick wall. Some canvassers are unable to attend Monday morning meetings because of obligations as parents, students, and workers at other jobs. The 6 collective members have hiring and firing power over us and the collective process has failed to address the grievances of canvassers, so we unionized to bring balance to the power dynamic in our workplace. Telling us to use the collective process is classic boss speak for telling workers they should go through pre-existing channels instead of unionizing.
2. SC: “After the group gave a list of demands (some, but not all, being reasonable), they gave the collective one hour to meet their demands. If not, they declared they would strike.”
THE TRUTH: In our first meeting with the managing collective after unionization, we (the union) carefully went through our demands and allowed them an hour to ask any clarifying questions about them. They chose to only ask a couple questions, using about 5 minutes worth of their allotted hour. Then we gave the collective another hour to discuss in private and expected negotiation to begin after that. We stated very clearly that we did not expect negotiations to finish that day; we just wanted them to move forward in good faith. We stated that we did not expect to get all of our demands; that many of them were flexible, and as long as negotiations went ahead in good faith we would not strike. The managing collective simply refused to negotiate with our union.