WATTS: I am Dave Watts the President of United Paper Works International Union local 7-837 and I am here to show that we can win the battle of the negotiation of a good contract. We have been fighting this battle since the summer of 1993. Our main objectives have been the following: First, we have always wanted the company to reduce the working hours from twelve hours per day to eight hours per day. As we know before the industrial revolution in our country, the working time was supposed to be between eleven and fourteen hours per day. However, the workers who were concerned about the health implications of such working hours developed a movement, called the eight hour movement which led to the enactment of the first law on the working hours. The number of working hours is supposed to be eight or less per day. The organization is offering us twelve hours per day which is not in accordance with the law (Roger, 2004: 78).Secondly, there is the problem of the poor working conditions. We need to make the company understand that we are human beings and that we must work under conditions which are human. The company is eliminating a lot of our employees and thus so many people are losing their jobs. There is also the problem of violation of the standards of health and safety in most of the companies which puts the lives of the workers at risk. We need to fight against this. Workers who came about one hundred years before us fought for the eight hour working day and the organization has decided not to follow the law which has been laid down for the purpose of working hours. It is unfortunate but we have to do it to force the organization to obey the law.GOSS: My name is Glen Goss, the vice president of the United Works International Union local 7-837 and I am here to explain to you the importance of accepting the contract as the company offers us. As we all know, we have been going on strikes but we end up getting the same contract terms. For example, in 1993, we went on a strike to reject the companies twelve hour daily shifts. After boycotting work for some time, we later accepted the same terms and went back to work without a change in the terms of the contract. It is therefore not practically possible to change the contract terms. As opposed to what my president is saying, the organizations are supposed to run themselves and any person who is not satisfied with the way the organization is being run should quite. I want to tell the president that we will face a lot of challenges in trying to change the terms of the contract. First, there is an unemployed which is at almost ten percent. How do you think we will manage it having in mind that there are very many people who are not employed and they need employment?
In addition, we know that in the 1990s, the workers were not able to express themselves fully. Most organizations sacked the employees who appeared like they are causing confusion in the organization. The same things are likely to happen. In this case, most of the leaders who support the strike may be sent home and the people who do not turn up for duty will be dismissed. This will make them jobless or sacrifices for the rest.WATTS: it is true that there is a high unemployment rate. However, we are trying to make jobs better. We will convince the people that what we are doing is not being appreciative. We are making the jobs better for them. Therefore, our main objective is to make sure that the jobs which they will get are not the bad ones but the good ones. In this situation, we are just making money for the company while our children have no food. Therefore, it will not make sense to get a job which is giving you nothing at the end of the day. This job is very exploitative and we need to change it. It is for all our benefits. All of us must be dedicated towards the improvement of the working conditions ion this country. We will mount campaigns to explain to the unemployed people the reasons as to why they should not accept the job in the organization to replace us. In addition, we will also seek the intervention of the courts to ensure that the company does not sack us.In 1990s, some workers lost their jobs. However, this is what led to some liberation for workers which are witnessed today. To succeed in this struggle, we need to be determined. I am ready to lose my employment because of fighting for the people. On the other hand, the law protects us. An employer cannot just dismiss an employee. Therefore, the organization will sue the employer if he dismisses any of us (Roger, 2004: 56).GOSS: If the workers go on strike, what will they eat? They have families which need to be fed and they need to buy a few things for the family. As we know, when workers are on strike, they should not be paid and thus the workers will not be able to earn income with which they can run their families with. We should not be like fools to take a certain step which will only affect us negatively. When you think critically about it, you will notice that the workers are the losers. They will not be paid and their work will be done by the Scabs. This means that the organization will not feel the effects but it will still continue to work.
WATTS: It is true that we will not be paid. However, we will be able to start a welfare fund which will cater for the needs of the workers. The workers will be able to get money for their essential goods and services from the organization. However, we all have to understand that the strike is for our own good and our children. It is not benefiting one of us only but all of us. We all need to sacrifice towards this. Thus, although we will have a welfare fund for the helping of the employee members of the organization, members will have to understand that they are not paid to go on strike. In addition, when we become successful in the strike, one of our demands will be the payment of the days which the workers went on strike (Davidson, 2009: 32).On the issue of scabs, we can choose to remain at the gate so that no employee will cross to the company. We will ensure vigilance at the gate to prevent some people from crossing. Therefore the employees will not be able to cross and thus betraying the rest. In addition, we will request all the employees who have not been registered with the organization to register so that we all act in unison without some employees failing to comply with the strike on grounds that they are not members of the union. In addition we will also mount campaigns of explaining the employees the importance of not betray the rest. Another available option is to seek legislative intervention in which we will legally force the company not to employ new staff (Davidson, 2009: 70).The workers are protected by the job security laws. The employer cannot terminate the contract of an employee on grounds which are prohibited by the law. Therefore, the employer cannot fire an employee on grounds that he or she has joined a workers union. Since the law allows for the formation of trade unions, there is protection of employees who join trade unions. In addition, the strikes are allowed. The labour regulations require that the union of workers give a notice of sixty days to the employer before they go on strike. If their demands are not addressed, then they can go on strike. Therefore, to make our strike legal, we will give the organization sixty days to address our issues after which we will go on strike. In the United States, the work adjustment retraining notification act requires that the employer in a private sector to give the workers who are about to be retrenched sixty day notice. However, it is not in all cases. This is applicable only to emergencies which are applicable within the law and not in illegal sackings. Thus, the workers will be protected by the law from sacking (Roger, 2004: 33).GOSS: How will you ensure that the organization feels the impact of the strike? How will you achieve the goal? We have tried these strikes before but the organizations still remain undermand to our demands. They have nothing to lose. In addition, the main objective of the organization is to make profits. If you are not willing to work, all of us will be dismissed and they employ new people who want to work. By refusing to work or going slow there will be no effect to the company.WATTS: one of the new strategies we are planning to employ this time round is civil disobedience. Civil disobedience will involve blocking of the roads among other things. We will protest in the whole town. We will not violently disobey the law. This will attract the attention of the state. With civil disobedience, the government will directly get involved in the issue. This is because civil disobedience will also affect the functions of the government and the rest of the people. We will also refuse to pay our taxes so that we can make the government understand that there is a problem. This will result in intervention by the government t and thus make it possible for the company to think of coming up with a solution soonest possible. We can also go to the company and avoid doing the duties we are supposed to carry out (Roger, 2004: 95).Another strategy will be to start building more associations with other unions. For example, we will convince students to join us because they are the ones who will be working in such organizations in the future and thus when they help us fight; they will find better jobs in the future. We will seek the support of the clergy of the society, the civil rights groups among others. We will campaign against the organization. At the field level, we will discourage people from buying goods from the organization and advise them to buy the same goods from the other competing organizations. As a result, the organization will run short of funds. Our campaigns will also go through the media so that its international market is also affected. This is because the organization becomes incapacitated if it cannot sell its products (Clay, 2009: 34).GOSS: How will be able to use the media? It is a common knowledge that the media is owned by the cooperate entities. As a result, the media owners would like to support the other business men in the country because of the fear that next time, it will be them affected. In the current state, it is impossible to rely on the media. The media will instead spread smear campaign against us and make all the people believe that the union of workers is the one which has a problem but not the organization. Thus, we will find it difficult to convince the media that the cooperation is not being fair (Davidson, 2009: 34).WATTS: We will pay for adverts in the media to show how the organization is treating us. Although most of the media houses will most likely ignore us, we must get at least some sympathizers. To prove our points, we will produce photo evidence of what happens within the organization. This will help us in winning the confidence of the people (Roger, 2004: 50).GOSS: the union is run in a very undemocratic way. Some of the workers do not want the strike. Will the organization force us into a strike when we are not willing?WATTS: The union is run on a democratic way of leadership. We will carry out a vote which will decide what the members will do. If the members feel that they should not go on strike, we have no options. We will use the voice of the majority. This union will remain democratic and will avoid bureaucratic procedures. The decisions will be made by the employees. This will be one of the ways of ensuring that there is union solidarity (Davidson, 2009: 78).
If the employees decide that they will go on strike, all the employees will be supposed to follow suit. We must be united. It has been said severally that united we stand and divided we fall. To achieve the goal, well remain united in our fight for better contract terms. Therefore, we will not have some members betraying us for their selfish gains. If some members fail to be united with the rest of us, there will be no achievement of our goals.The union will be more of a social movement rather than a business movement. We need to have a movement which is purely social. This is because business movements will tend to be less effective in the quest for justice. In the social movement, the federal government allows for the payment of the employees while on a strike. It will be possible to get the pay after we go on the strike (Davidson, 2009: 12).Another option will be the use of the small strikes. These will be one or two days long. With one day strike, it will be possible to destabilize the organization and make it unable to perform its functions. This will have an advantage over the other stem in which the organization goes on strike for long. With a short strike, the organization will not be able to hire new employees. In addition, the organization will not run its operation as required. This will push the management to the discussion board and make us agree on the contract terms.GOSS: This time we are living is a time of tough economy. Organizations are not making profits. Even in our organization, the effects of the economic recession are still being felt. It will not be fair to subject the company into issues which will cause further losses. The organization will need to wait until the effects of the economic recession are over and then iot can change the terms of the contract. Changing the terms of the contract right now will make the organization go at a loss and thus risk closing down. In addition, going on strike at this time, the organization will not be able to recover from those losses which will occur as a result. The organization can thus decide to close the business. This will lead to the loss of jobs of all of us. All of us must be dedicated towards making the organization prosper since if it fails, it will not be able to retain all of us. In addition, the organization may make losses which will force it to reduce some of the employees and thus leading to dismissal of some of us (Charles, 2007: 56).WATTS: One thing we must know is that the organization is making a lot of money from us. The organization made a huge tax in the last trading period. In addition, what us as workers are looking for is that the company observes all the rules of labor. The rules say that employees should work for a maximum of eight hours per day. Therefore, the organization should not change this. As we know, we are working on a twelve hour shifts per day. This is very inhuman. In addition it will make us have poor health. It can even lead to detoriation of our health to a point where some of us will not be able to work. As a result, we will not have incomers for ourselves and for feeding our families. We are making huge profits for the organization although they do not appreciate such (Davidson, 2009: 76).In conclusion, the union must force the company to improve the working conditions. The company should make the working conditions more favorable. If the working conditions are not improved, the employees are likely to suffer from diseases which will make them unable to work. This will result in inability for the employees to sustain themselves and their families. The organization needs to reduce the working hours from twelve per day to eight hours per day as it has been stipulated in the labour laws. In addition, they need to add us salaries.Some of the strategies we will use is to reduce the possibility of the organization of employing new workers by having a short strike. We will also mobilize the youth and students to support us in the strike because in the future, they are the ones who will be at that position. We will also carry out campaigns against the organization in order to sabotage it. This will force the organization to listen to us and thus ensure that there do not oppress us. If the organization sacks an employee, we will demand that he or she is reinstated before we resume duty.