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East Bay Depot are Union Busters!

 Workers at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse organized a union earlier this year. They chose the Industrial Workers of the World as their bargaining agent and asked for voluntary union recognition from Depot management. Management refused to recognize the union and the deadline passed. At that point the union filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board, and in April, the workers voted unanimously in favor of union representation.

During the union organizing drive, which preceded the election, Depot Management took a decidedly anti-union stance. Union members were photographed and verbally intimidated. Four workers were laid off after their grant proposal was rewritten by management at the last minute, and was rejected by the Alameda Waste Management Authority. Next, a union supporter was fired, and Depot management continued to pressure the remaining union members.

Contract negotiations began in this hostile environment, and even as management claimed they were bargaining in good faith, in practice they set into motion a plan to rid the Depot of union supporters. Not surprisingly more firings followed and a several more workers were harassed into quitting.

Depot management has a vested interest in protecting their authority and has continually expressed disbelief that their anti-worker behavior is a driving force behind the union campaign. They say the workers at the Depot are artists and free spirits. Apparently they believe that artists don't need job security, a safe working environment, health care or a grievance procedure.

Management at the Depot's engagement in union busting and harassment of union supporters led many former workers to voice their concerns to the community through a letter to the Berkeley Planet. Former workers wanted to let the community and the present Depot workers know that Depot management is treating workers unfairly, not following the original Depot mission statement and mismanaging a vital community non-profit.

The Industrial Workers of the World is convinced Management at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse is engaged in union busting. Considering that the Depot relies upon the financial support of the community, this is particularly unacceptable anti-worker behavior.

Bruce Valde
Thurston Graham
Sarah Z.
Stacey Means
Steve Ongerth

Industrial Workers of the World
Bay Area General Membership Branch