Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fund for Public Interest Research at it again

Double Standard
Union woes at human rights’ research firm
LA Weekly

Four years ago, the directors of one Los Angeles office of the Fund for Public Interest Research told their bosses that they planned to unionize. To their surprise, the Fund — a giant national umbrella group that runs canvassing and fund-raising campaigns for nonprofits like the Sierra Club and the Human Rights Campaign — responded by firing them and shuttering the office for more than a year. Last summer, Christian Miller, who works at another of the Fund’s L.A. offices, learned from his predecessors’ mistakes: When things got ugly, he went straight to the Teamsters. But despite successful union votes in two L.A. offices and no less than 14 complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Miller and his co-workers say they’ve faced a fierce union-busting effort from an organization that survives on its wholesome liberal image.

Several of the Fund’s managers refused to be interviewed for this story, responding instead with e-mailed statements from assistant national canvass director Sarah Gaudette, who writes that the Fund respects its employees’ right to organize. “We have certainly not done anything illegal,” Gaudette continues. “In fact, the NLRB has consistently dismissed charges that we have engaged in bad faith.” In fact, only two of the 14 charges filed with the labor board were dismissed.


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