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Management responds with business propaganda to IWW Star Tickets Workers Union efforts to organize in Grand Rapids

February 21, 2013

Last month we reported on an IWW union organizing effort at Star Tickets, here in Grand Rapids.530657_123090354529167_1944884883_n

There have been two kinds of responses to this news. First, the community has communicated their support with messages on the IWW Star Tickets Workers Union Facebook page and lots of gifts, such as food and flowers. (Sounds like Bread & Roses).

The other response to the workers organizing effort has been from management and as expected it hasn’t been pretty. Star Tickets owner Jack Krasula has created his own business propaganda to share with workers to try to counter the pro-worker messages of the IWW Star Tickets Workers Union.

Krasula has been distributing his business propaganda to workers in the hopes of influencing enough of the workers to vote against a union on March 6. Here is a sample of what the company’s propaganda looks like.

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The IWW Star Tickets Workers Union has a fairly methodical response to Star Tickets management, which you can read on their Facebook Page, but we also asked some of the workers for their reaction to the anti-union propaganda. Here is what IWW Star Tickets Workers Union member Evelyn Stone had to say:

My reaction to the propaganda is that it’s really off-base, focusing on dues and bureaucracy when the IWW is different from other unions in exactly that regard. It also liberally applies double standards, accusing the union of not being able to guarantee we’ll get our demands, without holding Jack to that standard. Obviously HE’S not going to guarantee us anything if we’re on our own. We’ve been trying that one-on-one negotiation he prefers for years and nothing’s changed. And their argument seems to be “Star Tickets isn’t going to give you your demands either way so vote ‘no'”??

And trying to frame the IWW as some kind of outside entity is ironic, considering, while the union is just a bunch of people who’ve been working in this office who decided to form their own union, the firm that’s putting out all the anti-union material IS an outside entity. They know so little about our specific situation that they tried to use the scare tactic, “you might lose the benefits you have,” when almost no one in the office has benefits to begin with. And they tried to scare people by saying their dues could be as much as $27 a month, which is laughable, because nobody in this office makes anywhere near enough money to qualify for that level of dues. I’m sure we’d all be at the minimum dues level of $9 (or maybe even the sub-minimum level of $5). The firm is either being intentionally misleading there, or they are just using boilerplate anti-union arguments without bothering to research our specific office at all!62413773_l

As for the reaction of coworkers, I know even though the propaganda urges people to “ask questions and get answers” the intention is not actually to get them to do that, and indeed people have been pretty silent on the topic during work hours. Though that may just be that they were annoyed by it and didn’t even bother to read it.

What do you anticipate happening with the campaign?

What I expect to happen between now and March 6th is that the company will allow things to deteriorate further and try to blame that on us. One of our demands is for them to hire more people for the Client Services department because they are so ridiculously understaffed that there’s no way for them to finish their work, which is obviously bad for the clients and therefore the whole company, and also causes problems in the operations of the Call Center.

It’s a tactic to shift the blame onto the overworked workers there for any mistakes they may make instead of placing it where it belongs, on the management that put them in a situation where it’s impossible for them to succeed. Management is going to blame the union for this, saying their hands are tied until after the election (they’ve actually claimed it’s illegal for them to make staffing changes until the election) but hopefully people are able to see through that, since, first of all, it’s not true–that staffing change is easily, easily framed as something they have to do anyway for their own good, outside of any negotiations with us. And secondly, they haven’t been afraid to make staffing changes in the call center during the election period. Not to mention, if they really believed this, and wanted to fix the situation, we gladly would have agreed to a much earlier election date.

They were the ones that wanted the maximum amount of time to campaign. To me, making things worse and blaming it on us is a transparent (and stupidly self-destructive) tactic. But it may be the most effective one they have.

Still, I am confident we will win the election, so our focus is going to have to shift to how to deal with similar tactics in our negotiations with Star Tickets as the recognized union.

The IWW Star Tickets Workers Union welcomes your continued support and solidarity and are even encouraging people to send messages to the owner and let him know that there is lots of public support for their right to organize.

Jack Krasula

Phone – 248-945-1127

Fax – 248-945-1129

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