Thursday, April 23, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act will help Museum Guards

The AlliedBarton Security Guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are tired of earning poverty wages. They are tired of being mistreated. They are tired of the disrespect. The Museum of Art looks so poorly upon these workers that they have decided to pay them 40% less than what city ordinances demand that they pay.

For these reasons, these workers have decided to form a union. A majority of the guards at the museum have signed a union representation card with the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.

Despite this, they know that the chances of being able to actually exercise their rights to collective bargaining at are supposedly guaranteed is virtually impossible. Labor law is broken. If the Employee Free Choice Act were in effected today, these workers would have a union and would be negotiating how they would be dividing up the more than $1 million in new income between better benefits and wage increases.

This situation is highlighted in a great web article, Labor Limbo, written by Dan Denvir in this months In These Times magazine.

If EFCA were made law, “card check” alone would be sufficient—and museum guards like Alethia Hanible might already be negotiating with AlliedBarton. Hanible, who has worked at the museum for two years, says she and other security guards—85 percent of whom are African-American—receive only one sick day per year of employment and are not allowed to speak to visitors. Hanible, who says AlliedBarton has made arbitrary decisions and played favorites with guards, must refer any visitor with questions to the museum’s front desk.

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