Monday, November 05, 2007

More boss class thuggery

Last August, three low-paid US workers toured Australia and provided details of life for the working poor in the US (see here).

Last Friday, the following report was released by the Service Employees International Union (SIEU). It details the harassment that can face workers in the land of the free when they dare to stand up for their rights.

Despite all the carry-on here about "union thugs", the real thugs are the bosses who, in their selfishness and greed, cannot see the worker as a fellow human being deserving of dignity and respect.

The report follows:


Three Hospitalized Following Unprovoked Attack While Speaking Out For Workers’ Basic Civil Rights at Mall Management Office

Hayward, CA—Three people, including two janitors and a union organizer, were hospitalized yesterday after being beaten and pepper-sprayed by Southland Mall security officers during a peaceful 25-person mid-day delegation to the mall’s management office to speak out against civil rights abuses against the mall’s janitors, who are forming a union in order to gain a voice on the job.

“Everything was going well but when we started chanting ‘We Want Justice’ the security guards lost control and started attacking us,” said janitor Maricela Flores. “Why did they have to react so violently?” A mother of two, Flores and two other members of the delegation, janitor Sonia Sharwood and union organizer Raúl Cardenas, were brought by ambulance to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hayward after the unprovoked attack. Respectively, they suffered from impaired vision and tearing, general pain in the limbs, and difficulty breathing after being beaten and pepper-sprayed at the hands of approximately five mall security officers.

The officers are employed by Valor Security Services, a company that is symptomatic of the low standards that plague the mall security industry, where poor training, low wages, and few if any benefits contribute to high employee turnover and inexperienced officers.

For several months workers at more than 20 General Growth Properties malls nationwide have joined with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to win living wages, affordable health care, and a voice on the job. In many malls, janitors have been met with alleged interrogation, surveillance, discrimination, and even firing of janitors who support their union.

According to charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board, there have been 61 alleged violations of janitors’ basic civil rights at GGP malls throughout the country, including alleged interrogation, intimidation, and discrimination at Southland Mall itself.
With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the nation’s largest labor union and represents more than 225,000 janitors and 50,000 security officers in 30 cities throughout the United States.

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