Apparently, locking out workers, once a rare practice, is the new normal for employers. Last November, South Slope Communications in North Liberty locked out 55 employees for 3 days after their union contract with the cooperative expired. Employees who came to work were told they were trespassing.
Employees were allowed to go back to work and now the question is: Should these decent people who have done nothing wrong other than try to make a living, really be expected to accept a proposed tired system involving a 30% reduction in wages for some?
If you would like to show support for your friends and neighbors, the Quad City Federation of Labor is sponsoring an event Thursday, January 23rd to help the workers.
“Co-op members and employees have built South Slope into a vibrant, local customer-oriented communications service. Now our co-op is in danger of being hijacked for personal gain.
We call on South Slope’s current Board of Directors to stop operating in secret, imposing harsh new contract terms without agreement from employees, and withholding information about upcoming Board elections.
We own the co-op, and together we can call for transparent co-op governance and better business practices. We care about South Slope’s future and are committed to saving our co-op!”
WHAT: Save Our Co-op Rally
WHERE: South Slope Cooperative, 980 N. Front St., North Liberty
WHEN: 4:30 PM, Thursday, January 23
WHO: South Slope Co-op members, employees, and concerned community members
WHY: This is OUR co-op! Together we can restore South Slope’s commitment to cooperative principles, member accountability, and employee fairness.
The [South Slope] offer reportedly includes a proposed 30 percent reduction in pay from existing wages for new hires or existing workers who transfer into new titles.
The CWA bargaining committee said it is concerned the two-tier pay structure will negatively affect employee morale and the ability to attract and retain qualified employees.
The Communications Workers of America contends South Slope refused to continue bargaining or extend the contract to accommodate the ratification vote.
South Slope Communications provides telephone, internet and cable television services to Amana, Ely, Fairfax, Newhall, North Liberty, Norway, Oxford, Solon, Shueyville, Tiffin, Watkins, Walford, and parts of Cedar Rapids and Coralville.
America’s unionized workers, buffeted by layoffs and stagnating wages, face another phenomenon that is increasingly throwing them on the defensive: lockouts.
“This is a sign of increased employer militancy,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University. “Lockouts were once so rare they were almost unheard of. Now, not only are employers increasingly on the offensive and trying to call the shots in bargaining, but they’re backing that up with action — in the form of lockouts.”
Employers are turning to lockouts to press their unionized workers to grant concessions after contract negotiations deadlock.