Friday, July 09, 2010

MCGEO Rat Rips Raiding Rival

MCGEO has deployed a favorite tactic of the building trades unions in fending off the rival union seeking to seize two of its bargaining units: the giant inflatable rat! MCGEO borrowed the rat from the Laborers Union and used it to demonstrate outside a membership meeting of its competitor.

Following is the account of MCGEO’s action from the AFL-CIO’s Union City publication.

Reprinted from Union City:

July 8, 2010

Responding to recent attempts to raid UFCW 1994 MCGEO members by “decertified scab unions,” dozens of Montgomery County government workers hand-billed outside the Gaithersburg Holiday Inn during rush hour Wednesday afternoon.

The presence of a giant inflatable rat on loan from the Laborers -- which has been on picket duty with striking Teamsters at Daycon for the last two months -- underlined the message of local union solidarity in the face of out-of-town interlopers.

“They’re trying to poach our members,” said UFCW 1994 MCGEO Organizing Coordinator Amy Millar, pointing to the hotel where the Massachusetts and New York based NCEU and UPSEU “rogue unions” were attempting to hold a membership meeting. “These scavengers are nothing more than scabs and they need to go back where they came from.”

Millar told Union City that the two groups have been decertified from some of their own units, have raided the Building Trades, IBEW, Laborers, Teamsters, SEIU and AFSCME and have been the target of several Labor Department audits citing “questionable practices and bookkeeping deficiencies.”

Jamele McLaurin – a six-year member of UFCW 1994 MCGEO – told Union City, “This group is making impossible promises about wages and benefits that can’t be delivered on in a booming economy, let alone during a budget crisis.” He added, “They are going about their business in an underhanded and sneaky way- they’re essentially trying to steal us from our union. It’s unethical and it’s disgusting.”

The UFCW 1994 MCGEO workers rallied for over 2 hours in the suffocating heat and humidity, clanging cow bells and waving signs at passing traffic that read, “NCEU, UPSEU Just Beat It!” McLaurin added, “I’m proud to be a member of my union- they fight hard for us every day and deliver on their commitment to bettering our workplace. We stand strong and united together.”

– report by Adam Wright; photos by Boaz Young-El, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern