Sunday, September 05, 2004

Corporate 'Fairness': Firestone XX's Its Workforce

At the Firestone plant in Noblesville, Indiana, employees have been working without a contract for over a year as the company used one dodge after another to avoid negotiating. Now, rather than accept the 'pattern agreement' worked out in the initial talks, Firestone has returned to the table with 'a boatload of concessions' it expects the union to make. Chief among them is a brand new pay-scam called the 'Split Payroll Week'.

The 'Split Payroll Week' does exactly what it sounds like it does: it divides the week into sections for payroll purposes and allows the company, by shifting hours from one section to another, to avoid paying virtually any overtime under 80 hrs, thus eliminating overtime pay altogether. I said 'overtime pay', not 'overtime' itself. No, that they want to make mandatory. They want to order employees to work longer weeks without paying for them.

Their other demands include:

  The right to hire up to 10% temporary workers
  Double hits for missed attendance for missed days on weekends
  Elimination of Excused Absences for periods covered by A&S
  Elimination of guaranteed minimum vacation
  Elimination of COLA
  No Pension increases

Get the drift? In the grand Wal-Mart tradition, it's the Race to the Bottom in all its glory. So emboldened by WM's success are they that corporations with union shops are trying to bring WM's junk-pile standards and sleezy accounting tricks to the negotiating table right out in the open. If we had a real Labor Secretary, which we don't--we've got a Management Tool named Elaine Chao instead--this sort of skullduggery would be DOA.

The Steelworkers are asking for some citizen back-up. Call 1-800-537-6000 and tell the company--nicely--to stop this horseshit and negotiate fairly. If we don't start speaking up for each other, they'll do it to all of us.