(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, October 02, 2002


So now the dock companies' negotiators bring armed thugs to the bargaining session. Really. It's hard to imagine a more obvious message of bad faith. To his credit, Peter Hurtgen – who was a strongly pro-management member of the NLRB until recently, and is now the head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and is trying to help out in negotiations – has condemned management for this, as quoted in the article linked above. (I've already said nice things on this blog about Hurtgen, despite the fact that he voted for management too often for my taste while on the Board. Strangely enough, I ran into him at a restaurant in Portland last Thursday night.). Maybe President Bush needs to call out the troops not in order to scab (as the Administration had threatened) but in order to protect the workers against the owners' goons!

Meanwhile in other California labor news, the Farm Workers had a victory; as a Californian friend puts it, "My flea-bitten governor has seen to yet another toothless law for our $10,000 per year work force." The powers-that-be must be disappointed to see that issuance of a Cesar Chavez postage stamp hasn't made the UFW a complacent part of the establishment. It's true that I should know more, and focus more, on the UFW; but as you might imagine, farm-worker organizing is not a booming part of worklife for Alabama-based labor lawyers. (It's hard even to organize automobile plants in Alabama, for pete's sake).

posted by sam 10:13 AM 0 comments


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