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  • authored by news
  • published Wed, Sep 4, 2002

D.I.Y. Banner Brigade

In the beginning, as so often is the case, there were the words. They were cheap to produce, fun to say, and you get to look good. But with less than a month to go it looks like the only people busting their butts to save 250 jobs at Lomans warehouse have been the Loman workers themselves and they are headed for the wailing wall called the UFCW Local 777 agreement.

After 10 years of watching management at the Langley BC warehouse, that services Overwaitea Food Group stores in western Canada, run the operation into the ground the members have been through a grinder that is best described as psychological warfare. Conflict among workers was created. Effectiveness was minimized at every turn. Members gave up trying to be team players. Just about every conceivable way to get the labour costs as high as possible were thrust upon them. Apathy and demoralization set in.

Having to then deal with the realization that their union would mimic management was the last straw for many. The lack of money, cooperation, communication and effectiveness from the UFCW has all but destroyed the solidarity within the warehouse.

Read it all

  • posted by <Loman Life>
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 12:15am

I would say that there could be a very interesting General Membership Meeting. If anyone wants to hear the Loman members story or ask them any questions they will be there. Retail members might want to see how forthcoming their executive is about the lack of cooperation and get a glimpse of what the spring has in store for you.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 7:41am

quote:


the workers were booked in at the Red Lion Hotel. The hotel, which is used by OFG corporate HQ's, had changed the workers booking without notice. When the workers returned to their rooms they found their luggage packed and on the sidewalk in front of the hotel.


I want to know about this. Warehouse workers money not as good???

Is it a union hotel? If it is then that's some kind of solidarity that came before you and if not ... then why the hell would the machine book there?

  • posted by Loman Life
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 11:20am

There are a ton of questions about the Red Lion incident. The guys were not told their booking had been cancelled when they arrived. It appears the change was only made once their purpose in town was known. Rather than use the very weak excuse that the hotel was concerned about its corporate OFG business, a "story" was made up about alcohol use, the police, etc. Who made up the story? Was it the Hotel? Was it OFG?

The biggest question is why the UFCW Head Office bought the story hook line and sinker without bothering to get the leafleting guys side. As far as I can tell UFCW is not yet aware that we are in the information age and that communicating requires no more than a little effort.

Hang your heads UFCW Head Office. You left some of the most committed members you have high and dry far from home because you weren't interested enough to just make a call. Or were they simply being too effective?

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 1:28pm

Let me ask a question that is probably rhetorical but I'll ask it anyway:

It seems to me, from everything that I've read about the activist workers at Lomans, that this - everything that these workers have done so far - is as good an example of grass roots activism, solidarity and going to the wall for your brothers, as we're ever likely to find. This is the kind of activism that the leaders of the mainstream labour movement whine is lacking out there in the worker community and within the ranks of their members.

Where then are the mainstream labour leaders and all who line up behind them? The leaders of the UFCW appear to have dropped the ball badly in this confrontation with the forces of corporate greed while their enablers, supporters and apologists are steadfastly looking the other way.

How does the mainstream expect to get workers excited about supporting "organized labour", when this is the kind of indifference and bungling workers encounter when they do decide to get organized, take a stand and show solidarity?

  • posted by <Banner Man>
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 2:23pm

--------------------------------------------------
How does the mainstream expect to get workers excited about supporting "organized labour", when this is the kind of indifference and bungling workers encounter when they do decide to get organized, take a stand and show solidarity?
--------------------------------------------------

Man...Lemme tell ya, It's Hard.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 8:48pm

It is 6 months later, I am speechless, so you guys read it ... again.

quote:


The members employed at the warehouse are fighting to save their jobs and the livelihood of their families. The only reason Overwaitea-Loman is closing the warehouse is to increase its profits at the expense of its employees. Our warehouse members deserve the support of all other members, even those who may be adversely affected by the leafleting campaign, and thank the members employed by Save-On, Overwaitea, and Safeway for the support they have received.


  • posted by Loman Life
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 11:43pm

RV: "How does the mainstream expect to get workers exicted about supporting organized labour when this is the kind of indifference and bungling workers encounter...?"

As far as I can tell they don't really want workers to get excited about organized labour.These guys are and they have called attention to what the problem is:the leeches at the top who forgot that unionism is a movement for and by the people, not a business model

Once all the workers are "restructured" into the low-wage part-time model, solidarity and involvement should become much less of a nuisance. Then all that is required is the low cost rhetoric and any increases to the workers impoverished lives will be heralded as a triumph of unionism.

  • posted by <Billy Bob Boxmover>
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 12:20am

How about that rally today!!! OK it didn't cost UFCW much of anything. The guys had to make the signes up themselves and they made all the noise. But at least UFCW didnt try to kill it.

We know there was some media there and at lrb. Did anyone see anything on TV? Heard we got some radio time and that EV was an american based company. Anyone hear anything?

  • posted by Loman Life
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 12:36am

Yeah Brooke, what ever you do don't let the retail members in on your secret invitation to join the leaflet line. Just keep busting your butt with the fluff-fest at 1518.com. Keep the photo ops rolling and pretend all is well.

Solidarity increased today I give you that and thank you for that. I have just one question: Do you have a calendar in your office?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 1:45am

quote:


"One of the most gratifying things I get to see on a regular basis is our union going to the wall and defending the rights and dignity of our members."


Uniondale was quaint little town of 250 people founded more than 30 years ago and located on the banks of the Atelier river. It was voted the second best place in North America to raise a family and build a life and with the exception of a heated election 10 years ago that seen a new mayor elected it was primarily a very peaceful town.

Uniondale had one very prominent citizen who lived at the top of Monarch Mountain overlooking the whole Apothecary Valley. Mr Usef C. Dubya was an old and trusted friend of all Uniondalians and many sought out his advice on any number of issues effecting the town. He was often looked to for guidance and leadership in times of crisis and was thought of as a sort of caretaker for the community.

At the height of the rainy season last spring several communities north of Uniondale were flooded out when the Atelier river overflowed it's banks. With the unrelenting rain everyone recognized Uniondale would suffer the same fate if immediate steps were not taken to protect the town from the rushing water headed their way. So the town [as it had always done in the past] turned to Mr. Dubya for direction. Surely with his prominence and influence throughout the countryside he could find much needed volunteers to aid the community in building a wall of sandbags high enough to hold back the cresting river. With his vast resources of wealth they even counted on Mr. Dubya paying for and bringing in heavy equipment to speed up the work. So the chief of police and his deputy's drove up to Mr. Dubya's house as fast as they could while the rest of the town got started.

Surprisingly Mr. Dubya didn't seem all that anxious to help. His favourite movie was on T.V. that night and he'd been looking forward to curling up in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoying the movie. In his mind the river was coming and his toiling over it wasn't going to change that and really what difference could his help make anyway? The Chief mentioned the need for heavy equipment and Mr. Dubya cut him off before he even finished. He was not going to authorized the use of his company's equipment for such a futile endeavour and furthermore 'that anyone would have the nerve to think they could presume to expect' him to do this was asinine. 'The consequences of him making an excepting this one time could potentially be enormous 'if the guys start getting the idea that they can use his companies equipment anytime they wanted.

The chief then suggested Mr. Dubya use his influence and connections to elicit outside support and manpower to aid in the effort to save the town and again Mr. Dubya rejected this idea. Bringing in outside support wasn't practical and besides they had more than enough existing manpower to get the job done. Then the police chief asked if Mr. Dubya would pitch in and after mulling it over Mr. Dubya not so enthusiastically accepted. After all, his house was protected due to location and altitude but he did feel some sort of obligation to help his fellow Uniondalians. But he needed to find his raincoat, rubber boots and a pair or wool socks [to keep his feet warm] before he headed out. Without inviting anyone inside while they waited Mr. Dubya closed the door and left the police chief and his deputy's outside on the porch. Some valuable time passed as the men anxiously waited outside. They were growing increasingly impatient with the unnecessary delay and they were needed back in town. Precious time was being wasted waiting for Mr. Dubya.

Finally Dubya came back outside and said he was ready to pitch in. When they got to town the chief asked him to grab a shovel and start filling sand bags. It was then Mr. Dubya noticed he'd forgotten his gloves and suggested he'd better return for them. With too much time already been wasted already and the wife of one of the deputy's offered him her gloves but Dubya declined. He was a gentleman and couldn't expect a lady to work without gloves while he protected his hands. Then a deputy offered his and likewise Mr. Dubya declined. He didn't want to risk catching a rash and insisted on returning home for his own.

So the chief asked him to join the line and pass along the finished sand bags for stacking. Gloves weren't needed for that job and they really couldn't continue to stand around wasting time. Mr. Dubya did just that but after only a few min he was ready for a break. He wasn't used to all the physical activity and his production [or rather lack of] was negatively effecting productivity. So it was suggested that Mr. Dubya just stand back and offer encouragement for the hard working Uniondalians. But this seemed very demeaning for him and insulted he demanded to be taken home where he could enjoy his evening after all. Fed up with his shenanigans the chief of police took him back home.

The next morning the river crested and because the flow of the rushing water was so fast most Uniondalians were swept away by the river and the town was flooded. Only a very lucky few managed to make it far enough up Monarch Mountain to stay out of harms way. As news of this tragedy spread and news crews began to question Mr. Dubya about it he smiled in front of the cameras and spoke of the tragedy and how it would always effect him. He mentioned that he'd done everything he could to help but his sacrifice just wasn't enough. He'd miss his fellow Uniondalians but life must go on. He was just grateful his home and his family were spared.

quote:


No rational person could seriously state that there is a lack of support from the union. There's a ton of experience here at the union in fighting these fights, and a ton of money and resources that is going into this fight on behalf of every member at the warehouse.


  • posted by Loman Life
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 11:21am

Those not wiped out by the flood began to slowly rebuild Uniondale and, as time went by, it began to me a quaint town once again.

The residents no longer sought out Mr. Dubya's advice. Nor did they stop to talk or say hello. When elections for the mayors job were held Mr. Dubya tried to buy his way in with lots of good food and speeches. Still he was worried and thought the Chief of Police might agree to have the ballots counted up on the hill for "security reasons." The Chief pretended to agree but when the time came the ballot box was opened and counted for all to see. When the results came in the only vote cast for Mr. Dubya was suspected to be his own.

  • posted by <Billy Bob Boxmover>
  • Sat, Sep 7, 2002 11:20am

Rumor has it the the banner brigade has a full week of fun planned and Im not talking about overpasses. Gotta keep it quiet so the union don't shut it down.

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Sat, Sep 7, 2002 1:52pm

quote:


Gotta keep it quiet so the union don't shut it down.


If that statement doesn't sum up everything that's wrong with organized labour today nothing ever will.

  • posted by Loman Life
  • Sun, Sep 8, 2002 4:56pm

Finally we had an event- the rally- that was not shut down by the union. But get this: The signs were made by the Loman members on their own time and with their own money!!! There was a promise that the member who paid for all the materials would be reimbursed. We are not millionaires and so the member went to the cheapest place(on his own time) he could:Wal-Mart He put out over $100 of his own money for the materials. He helped to organized the work and did much of it himself. When he submitted his bills he was told that he should not have bought the materials at Wal-Mart because they were non-union. After all he put into the project this criticism was a bit much to take.

We're feeling pretty non-union ourselves these days
although we have been paying into one for over 30 years. Why did a member have to pay for this stuff in the first place? Why did the members have to make the signs themselves? How long do we have to pay into UFCW before we get some indication that there is going to be more than an Econo-Fight?(Now called the "Two t-shirts and a Hat" campaign)

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, Sep 8, 2002 5:03pm

quote:


Finally we had an event- the rally- that was not shut down by the union.


Shutting down the rally in front of the lrb would have been suicide, even d'noobs know that.

  • posted by Loman Life
  • Sun, Sep 8, 2002 7:58pm

Speaking of suicide I guess that is why Brooke has delined to tell retail that they have been invited to join the leaflet line.

"Dear Retail Member,

We have sold out the senior members of the union with the 777 deal, the '97 retail deal, and this has brought the Loman warehouse to its present crisis. If you are a senior member in retail you may wish to join this battle in the hope that you may influence your own salvation next spring.

However, if you are a junior member, we suggest you may wish to continue with your complaints that you are losing hours. Our own Tom Fawkes has eloquently descibed why this job has no future and what its limited pay might be used for. If you remain in solidarity against the leafleters futile effort to preserve the dignity of workers and their families, come next spring we may be able throw you a few bones. All we ask is that you join us in selling out the senior members.

Your dues are very much appreciated and I assure you we will continue to attend conferences and make speeches. After all, unions are the voice of workers across this great continent.

In Sell-out-darity,

Ufey C. Dubya"

Too much transparency?

  • posted by <Billy Bob Boxmover>
  • Mon, Sep 9, 2002 12:01pm

Any one notice that the award winning web site our union has did not bother to cover the rally at the lrb or the one at the warehouse? Kiss Sinclairs ass UFCW, I guess we need him but maybe a little bit on the members might be in order. They are doing everything by themselves and you cant goive them the time of day or a few bucks???

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Sep 10, 2002 6:09am

quote:


Sell-out-darity,

Ufey C. Dubya


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