ACORN Management Brings in Scab Labor!
(SEATTLE) On the third day of the labor dispute between Washinghton ACORN organizers and management, an organizer from the Oregon ACORN office was brought up to cross the picket line in Seattle, in order to keep the office running. The worker crept through the back door while striking organizers rushed around the building to stop the breach in the picket line.
ACORN workers on strike will continue to picket outside the ACORN office in Burien at 132 SW 153rd today from 11am to 5pm. Workers have filed Unfair Labor Practices with the National Labor Relations Board, and other complaints regarding late paychecks, short paychecks, no lunch breaks and the lack of safety and harassment policies with the Washington Labor and Industries Employment Standards Program.
ACORN is a progressive membership-based community organization that brings low-income people together to campaign around issues such as better access to utility assistance. The organization also supports labor rights for working people. However, Seattle ACORN boss, Doug Bloch, refused to recognize his own workers' union and refused to negotiate around basic workplace issues, such as 8 hour workdays and guaranteed lunch breaks.
"ACORN management keeps feeding us the line that we must have a national union of ACORN workers since ACORN is a national organization. Not only is this false, they can recognize a union locally, but how do they expect only five of us to organize thousands of workers in 30 cities across the nation? They know they are asking an impossible task. That would take at least a year, and we want to see changes in the workplace now. We want to be getting our paychecks now, we can't wait a year! They have the legal ability to recognize the Seattle union, yet they refuse. As an organization claiming to be sympathetic to labor rights, this is absolute hypocrisy.", says striking Seattle ACORN organizer, Alexa Gilbert.
In addition to breaking state labor laws, ACORN management broke federal labor laws two weeks ago when they fired two pro-union workers in the Philadelphia ACORN office. Given ACORN's link to labor unions and local support of the right to organize, ACORN workers are puzzled by the harassment and pressure they have experienced from management in response to their request for union recognition.
"When ACORN organizers went on strike in Philidelphia two weeks ago, management promised to recognize the union if a majority of workers joined. Now here in Seattle we do have a majority and they still refuse to recognize the union. They are just trying to stall until we give in.", says Lara Davis, ACORN organizer and striking worker.