Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blogging for Good, and Now Evil

This post from Working Life, Jonathan Tasini's website, Unions and Bloggers Unite to Organize might lead some potential union targets to think that -- blogging for evil -- is just what is happening. The post written by Natasha Winegar, Jonathan's assistant is a quick update on a new, joint effort between the Teamsters and activist bloggers to organize workers, in this case workers at First Student, a transportation company in the education sector.

Quoting from another blogger, Shockwave, Winegar offers this insight into the bigger idea behind this one campaign:
In the next few years about 2000 consultants and lawyers with $billions from 10,000 corporations who are doing everything they can to prevent 100,000,000 American workers from exercising their right to form a union will have to deal with 10,000 union organizers, 300,000 progressive political bloggers and 15,000,000 union members. I bet on us.

We have complementary strengths. Unions have boots on the ground, bloggers have keyboards on the Web (the most powerful and democratic form of communication and organization.) Unions have deep knowledge of union-busting and union organizing tactics, bloggers can help craft Internet based strategies that are effective and cannot be duplicated by the union busting forces.

Disseminating information, winning the war of ideas, digesting mountains of data, facilitating communications between all pro-worker stakeholders, educating union rank and file and workers on how to use the Internet to organize under the radar of union busters. We can do all this.
I am not quite sure where the numbers in the first paragraph come from, but there is no doubting the missionary zeal with which they are spoken.

Winegar adds her own thoughts:
The past few decades have seen labor laws weakened, an increase in union-busting tactics, and the proliferation of vast multi-national corporations, and now many unions are looking for new, creative ways to organize. A partnership between unions and the netroots is a very powerful organizing tool that can help unions deal with these challenges.
How successful this partnership will be in changing the decline in union membership remains to be seen. However, there is little debate that the internet and the communities it spawns have and will continue to make a significant cultural impact. Anyone dismissing out of hand the idea that they could be a force in union organizing, should probably think again.

Although it seems highly ironic to do so, I will tag this post "traditional", my nomenclature for that area of employment law which deals with unions and their relationships with employers.


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