From Dallas ACORN Organizer John Rees
Dear ACORN leader,
The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of a situation within ACORN which threatens the sanctity of the people's organization. This situation began when community organizers across the country sought to organize themselves into a union to promote better working conditions, democracy and equality within the ACORN workplace.
As you know, ACORN is an organization that for 30 years has fought to bring democracy, solidarity and equality to low and moderate income neighborhoods in the United States. However, ACORN management is failing miserably in practicing these ideals which they preach. Infact, they are responding to this challenge to their authority by firing and threatening any organizer that advocates for, or is sympathetic with an organizer's union.
In Dallas, two very dedicated and hard working organizers, Sarah Stevens and Erin Howley, have had their employment terminated due to their desire for a more democratic workplace. This is a blatant violation of federal labor laws, not to mention outrageously hypocritical. I quit as lead organizer of Dallas ACORN as soon as I became aware that organizers are being fired across the country for having union sympathies. If ACORN management has such a low opinion of their organizers, I fear that their opinion of the members is not much better.
I strongly urge you as ACORN leaders to stop ACORN management in their illegal and fratricidal campaign to crush workplace democracy. This is your organization. You have the ability and responsibility to end ACORN managements campaign against their own workers. The next Dallas ACORN Board meeting is Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. I am not sure of the location, but you can find that out by getting in touch with your chairperson or calling the ACORN office at 214-823-4580.
It is my strong belief that by attending this meeting and confronting Dallas ACORN head organizer Kimberly Olsen, you can force her to do the right thing and end ACORN union-busting in Dallas. She is under enormous pressure by ACORN national management to engage in illegal union-busting tactics. For two years Kimberly was my boss, colleague and dear freind.
She is the most tireless champion of social justice I have ever known, and Dallas is certainly a better place to live because of the work that she has done the past five years. However, her blind obedience to national management and personal ambition are poisoning the organization. It is up to you to save her and ACORN from herself.
Also, please begin a letter writing campaign to ACORN's National Headquarters and demand that they put an end to illegal union-busting.
Write to National Head Organizer Wade Rathke at 1024 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117 (TEL.# 504-943-3842 / FAX# 504-943-3842) and National Field Organizer Helene O'brien at 88 3rd Ave. Brooklyn, N.Y. 14217 (TEL.#718-246-7900 / FAX#718-246-7939).
I will end this letter by expressing what an honor it was to serve as your community organizer for two years. Although ACORN was by far the most difficult and challenging work I have ever encountered, it was also the most rewarding. However, I feel that I can no longer work for an organiztion that persecutes people for having the very ideals that brings them to the organiztion in the first place. If you need to talk to me for any reason, please call me at 210-599-8036.
In solidarity, John Rees