Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Historic Museum Election on October 9 and 10!

Security guard cheering on the Welcoming Change Party

For two years, guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have tried to win dignity for themselves and their families. But, they've been ignored.

Along with guards, thousands of JwJ supporters have let museum leaders and the employer, AlliedBarton, know that wages that fall below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, bad and expensive health care and inadequate training are not good enough for the men and women who protect our city's most priceless cultural treasures.

Have they heard us? No. We too have been ignored.

But not anymore. We're going to put 100 volunteer organizers into the museum to let the guards know they have the power to never be ignored again. Can you donate now to help Jobs with Justice get these organizers in the door? Click here: https://secure.ga3.org/08/PhillyDonate

On October 9th and 10th, the National Labor Relations Board will supervise an election to certify that the security guards at the museum have come together to form their own union!

The employer, AlliedBarton, is using fear and intimidatation to keep them from forming their own organization. This is the company that cancelled their expected $.25 raise that the guards earned, fair and square.

The next three weeks are critical to winning the union election. In order to overcome the AlliedBarton/ Philadelphia Museum of Art intimidation campaign, we will need to get our volunteer organizers into the museum every day to talk with the guards and tell them why it is their right to form a union. Donate now to get them in the door so that our organizers can help our museum guards win this historic campaign!


You can help us Welcome Change at the PMA by donating today!

In solidarity,

Fabricio Rodriguez

Fabricio Rodriguez, Executive Director JwJ

P.S. You can sign-up to be a supporter yourself! On Friday, September 25th, join us for UNION NIGHT AT ART AFTER FIVE! RSVP with Fabricio by calling 215-732-8318

P.P.S. To make matters worse, direct museum employees are joining the anti-union campaign. That's right. Museum employees are participating in union-busting meetings that are being held inside the museum. (sign our petition urging City Hall to prevent your tax dollars from being used in the anti-union campaign here)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Will Your Tax Money Be Used To Intimidate Workers

One of the main road blocks that workers face to exercising their rights on the job is the powerful and frightening coercive power that an employer has over an employee.

Imagine an election in which the party in power could force you to attend mandatory meetings to tell you why you should not vote for the other party. Imagine the party in power could also make you lose your job, and harass your neighbors who support the opposition party. The party in power could bring in professional campaigners (lawyers and anti-union consultants) to help them win their election. They were guaranteed access to the voters every day leading up to the election -- but the opposition party could only campaign in secret and when their volunteers happened to catch other voters at home. Let’s say that the party in power could also sit you down, all by yourself, and interrogate you to see how you intended on voting?

Sounds pretty intimidating, huh? Well these are the troubles that the security guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are bound to face in the next thirty days as they try to form a union.

We don’t know if AlliedBarton, the contractor who employs them, is going to fight the workers as they attempt to exercise their legally protected right to form a collective group to negotiate work place improvements. It is also unclear how much anti-union scare tactics and union-busting Mr. Timothy Rub, the new museum director, will allow in his house. However, a posting that appeared in the AlliedBarton guards’ break room this Sunday is probably not a good sign of things to come.

click here for a closer look http://www.divshare.com/download/8503330-a9b

Mandatory meetings are generally the first stage of a fear campaign against workers who are trying to get organized. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is hosting this meeting in the on-site auditorium. Security guards who are union supporters will be able to tell us about the nature of the meeting on Wednesday night. We are hoping that it is not an anti-union meeting. Let’s hope that the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a publicly supported institution, is not allowing this type of behavior on museum property.

So far, the museum has feigned a position of non-engagement.

"The museum respects the freedom of workers to organize in accordance with labor laws and to vote in an NLRB-conducted election," said Norman Keyes, museum spokesperson.

It should be clear to tax payers what this means: the museum is anti-union.

Why? Simple. Jobs with Justice has gone to great lengths to educate museum leaders over the last two years about the problems with AlliedBarton. Let’s look at the past to see what we can expect next.

In 2006, AlliedBarton illegally “suspended” five security guard activists at the University of Pennsylvania. These five guards were suspended for giving a petition, during their off-work hours, to university President, Amy Gutmann. The guards weren’t offered positions on other contracts. What is the difference between being fired and being suspended indefinitely? Thankfully, we did not have to wait for that mystery to be solved. After student activists rallied and protested, embarrassed university leaders made the company restore them to their positions. (Thomas Robinson, a leader of the Philadelphia Security Officers Union, was one of the five guards suspended.)

In 2007, George Darrah, one of our long time security guard leaders, suddenly and without explanation had his hours drastically reduced and was removed from his work station at UPenn after we released the video, “Sitting Behind the Desk”. When George had his hours cut, Robert Curley of O'Donoghue and O'Donoghue LLP volunteered to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge on his behalf. Shortly after Robert filed the paper work, George’s hours were restored. (NLRB case #4ca34100)

AlliedBarton has established itself as a company that will do everything in its power, including illegal intimidation and retribution against union activists, to stop workers from exercising their right to organize, to associate and to speak freely about changing their working conditions. AlliedBarton’s position is an anti-union position. Given that, Timothy Rub’s “respect” for the “freedom” of these workers, but not speaking out against Allied’s intimidation campaign, is equivalent to lining up against the workers. The museum’s position is an anti-union position.

You don’t have to allow your tax money to be used to intimidate workers or to defeat the efforts of the security guards to form their own, grassroots, independent, labor union.

This Thursday, the Philadelphia City Council will reconvene. Please call and ask your city council representative to speak up. The Philadelphia Security Officers Union needs your help and the help of our civic leaders to ensure that our tax money will not be used at the museum to violate the rights of the workers.

Joining and forming a union is the right of all workers in this country, and the guards should not face an anti-union campaign paid for with our tax dollars. Mr. Rub and AlliedBarton’s leaders (security officers report that Timothy Rub and AlliedBarton leaders were seen having a meeting at the museum last week) need to publicly declare that they will be neutral to the guard’s efforts and that no intimidation or union busting will occur again!

Has the Anti-Union Campaign at the Philadelphia Museum Begun?

This was email to Eduardo earlier today...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcoming Change Party Rocks Philadelphia Museum

Supporters Welcomed Change for Security Guards Union at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Labor Day Weekend: Guards Gear Up For Union Recognition

Donate Now! To Make Sure JwJ Can Help These Workers Form An Independent Union!!!

Art lovers were treated to a uninvited, mobile concert by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra on Sunday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA). The concert was a party of a “Welcoming Party” that was organized by Jobs with Justice and the newly formed, Philadelphia Security Officers Union (PSOU). The PSOU filed a petition for union recognition with the National Labor Relations Board on September 3, 2009. (read about it in The Inquirer)

The party began at the bottom of the museum steps when Jobs with Justice activists started chanting “Ho ho, ha ha, we’re welcoming changer at the PMA, Ha ha ho ho poverty wages have got to go!” The Rude Mechanical Orchestra began banging on their drums, horns began blaring and people with party hats, horns and favors were dancing in the streets.

More than 130 supporters followed the marching band up the steps and around the south side of the museum. On the back side of the museum Lee Gee was playing music from the top of the steps overlooking Fairmount Park.

In addition to the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, the party featured, Thomas Robinson, Kathy Black, Reverend Schaunel Steinnagel, Juanita Love, Reverend Jay Broadnax, Bishop Dwayne Royster and Fabricio Rodriguez. Their messages of support were mixed with requests to Mr. Timothy Rub to declare that there will be no union busting on museum property.

The Living Water UCC Church in north Philadelphia also participated by offering prayer and by taking up a special offering during church services that day. The “Welcoming Change” fundraising campaign encourages supporters to donate pocket change to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, via Jobs with Justice. The funds which will be earmarked to give the security guards raises will be delivered to Timothy Rub when he takes over as the head of the museum. The fundraising campaign is in response to the recent role back of the expected $.25 per hour raises. The Living Water congregation raised $30 or raises for 7 security guards for one day of work.

The PSOU expects to hold an election sometime in late October. They can’t do it without your help though. You can help our by taking action from our web-site.
We also need your donations today!

Watch the Welcoming Change video and pass it on! http://www.divshare.com/download/8281947-f76

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Museum Guards File For Union Election

PSOU Hopes Timothy Rub Will Welcome The Union As They Prepare To Welcome His Arrival

For almost two years now, security guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have attempted to discuss their working conditions with Museum leaders. Having received no response to their multiple requests for dialogue, on Wednesday, September 3, the Philadelphia Security Officers Union (PSOU) will file for union recognition with the National Labor Relations Board.

“We are excited about this new development and take this big step forward with confidence,” explains Eduardo Soriano-Castillo, Lead Organizer with Philadelphia Jobs with Justice (JwJ), a community organization that has been working alongside the guards since 2007. Soriano-Castillo added that both PSOU and JwJ had hoped for the opportunity to speak with either the current administration at the Museum or incoming Director Timothy Rub prior to filing. “But we want them to understand that the guards are standing up for their rights as workers today.”

Timothy Rub will begin his tenure at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this September, and the guards are eagerly awaiting his arrival. In fact, PSOU and JwJ will be holding a welcoming party for him this Sunday, September 6 at 2 pm at the Museum. The band Rude Mechanical Orchestra will be leading the party, which is open to the public, as well as Museum staff. For more information on upcoming events and further details about JwJ and PSOU, please visit www.phillyjwj.org.