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(en) Canada, Fire Your Bosses!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 18 Oct 2003 09:58:48 +0200 (CEST)

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Members of the Groupe Anarchiste Bete Noire held a conference
on anarchy in the workplace last Friday night at Café La Petite
Gaule. Bete Noire is the Quebec member of North Eastern
Federation of Anarcho-Communists.
Far from the old stone-faced Soviet leaders from the Cold-War era,
these communists promote Marx's original intention behind
communism, to stop the subordination of the working class by the
bourgeoisie wealthy upper class and to create equality in the
workplace without hierarchy. This is the fundamental principle of

This second conference on the difficulties employees face was
aimed primarily at non-unionized workers. Mathieu, who would only
use his first name, opened with what he believes to be the main
problems in today's work environment. His wording was strong
when attacking directors of companies. In his view, companies
become rich by giving only 80 per cent of production profits to
employees while pocketing the other 20 per cent. He said if you
multiply that 20 per cent by the number of employees the profit
margin is astronomical.

Mathieu stated that the wealth bosses "steal" from workers is
used to buy off police and all other means of repression to help
make them the dominating class. He went on to say that "without
that money they don't have the means to control us."

He also attacked the textiles industry, singling out Nike and
Benetton for their refusal to use machines for production. Mathieu
said they instead choose to move production to developing
countries to capitalize on cheap labour, sometimes involving
children. He condemned industries that are unable to move their
services, such as highway and building construction, to avoid
paying top union salaries. These companies break down their
services and sub- contract to non-union workers. However, no
documented evidence was offered for any of these accusations.

Next for the crowd of 20-25 people was a speech from two
employees of Decarie Complice, a door-to-door and telephone
sales company that was recently unionized. Bernard Turcotte and
Karl Boutin gave some good advice on how to unionize the
workplace. In the case of Turcotte and Boutin, they decided to
seek union help after conditions at Decarie became unbearable.
Boutin described the process they took to bring in the
Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux.

"You have to be very patient," he said, explaining that you need at
least a 50 per cent majority vote that must remain constant. This
wasn't easy for the Decarie employees, as their boss kept a large
percentage of part-time transient workers on the payroll. They had
to dig through recycling bins and find old punch-cards just to get an
accurate employee count. They submitted their application to CSN
in February 2002 and the union was adopted two months later. The
workers have had to wait from then until Oct. 16, 2003 for their
first contract negotiations.

Both Turcotte and Boutin advised extreme caution in this process
because if a boss finds out before the union is adopted, employees'
lives could be made miserable in the fall-out. Some examples given
by Turcotte and Boutin included going to work and finding you have
less hours on the schedule. They would find that even senior
workers wouldn't get called for special events like the Jazz
Festival and lose potential earnings from commissions.
Commissions are the only way for Decarie workers to supplement
to their income, and these special events were already hard to get
because the boss had a tendency to hire friends and play
favourites. To start promoting the union to others at work, they had
to find a couple of people to trust at a time and spread the message
that way.

The general message expressed by Turcotte and Boutin was to not
be intimidated by employers, but to be very careful how you start
the ball rolling. Owners of non-unionized companies don't want
unions. The cost is too much. Employees do have rights and there
are people out there willing to help guide people through the

Link: http://www.nefac.net
Source: http://thelink.concordia.ca/article.pl?sid=03/09/30/1751217
Coppied From: infoshop.org

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