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Sat Nov 23, 2013, 05:24 AM

The Hardest Organizing Job In Labor

New York, NY - Everyone involved in the labor movement knows that organizing is hard. But Phil Andrews, director of the RWDSU’s Retail Organizing Project will tell you that trying to organize low-paid, retail workers is harder still. Watch Video

“Typically, the normal way of organizing where you just get a lead and you go in and run elections until you win just doesn't work in retail,” Andrews recently told LaborPress. “Mostly because retail union density is low. As a result, wages, benefits and working conditions are very poor - and getting worse.”

With the average turnover rate at typical retail stores running 200-300 percent in a single year, it quickly becomes abundantly clear why organizers like Andrews have such a difficult task trying to rally marginalized workers who hate their jobs so much, they’re constantly looking for a way out.

“If workers don't have that kind of longevity and dedication to their job, the idea of going through the process of organizing a union through traditional means is just not appealing,” Andrews says. “The person will say to you, 'Look, I don't even want to be here next month, let alone next year. So, why would I stick my neck out and do any extra work for this job that I don't care about? As soon as I find another job that gives me more hours or a 25-cent raise, I'm going to take it.’”

http://laborpress.org/sectors/union-retail/3060-the-hardest-organizing-job-in-labor

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Reply The Hardest Organizing Job In Labor (Original post)
Sherman A1 Nov 2013 OP
Laelth Nov 2013 #1
brer cat Nov 2013 #2
CatholicEdHead Nov 2013 #4
Sherman A1 Nov 2013 #3
Laelth Nov 2013 #5

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 09:04 AM

1. Wow. Turnover of 200-300%/year?

That's not a job. It's an eternal conveyor belt of disposable humans--train/torture/terminate. That has got to be crushing on the human spirit. Something needs to change ... fast.



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 10:06 AM

2. The workers have few or no alternatives.

As long as there are bodies willing to step on that conveyor belt, train/torture/terminate will continue. The cost to society for the burned out bodies coming out the other end is huge, and growing. If only we could get our congress to focus as much on jobs as on the latest trumped-up scandal we might accomplish something.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 08:01 PM

4. Only a reaction to the macroeconomics

Where capital can easily jump borders and labor cannot. Many places where capital ends up at have worse labor laws than we do. And if labor does get too expensive you can just go to the next spot which is even lower. If capital stays in a spot the costs to increase workers pay is still a pittance compared to the developed countries of the world.

Add to this all of the secret and non-secret trade deals and it only gets harder for labor on a international scale. Corporations/capital can function across borders with little problem, labor deals with local country, cultures, and the friction between workers in different areas.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 07:56 PM

3. Interesting assessment

At one time jobs in Retail, while not perhaps the greatest in the world at least carried with them some respect and an ability to make a reasonable living, there were career jobs at the lowest levels in the Retail Sector. Now I believe as our society overall has become angrier and the Wal Mart model of retail employment (part time, low pay & disposable workers) has spread through out the entire Sector either through other companies adopting their model or being trampled by Wal Mart, these jobs are nothing more than disrespected temporary jobs. It's a shame because companies could enjoy, productivity, loyalty and much low turnover rates (which is very costly to constantly retrain new workers) if they would look at the big picture and invest in their employees with wages, benefits, training, incentives & respect.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 08:07 PM

5. Agreed.

What to do about it, of course, is the big question, but it's bad, and I feel very strongly that it needs to change.

-Laelth

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