I got lots of jobs to low wages. Warehouseman, employed in call centers or customer service, concierge, diver, clerk, assistant cook, seller fir, House painter, speaker, name it. In all cases, I always had bosses with varying degrees of shit.
One who we
called moumounes when we refused to work at 10
meters in height without harness; another who always said
that it was taking too long between two surveys; one who we
spied remotely via cameras; others
who harassed or tolerated harassment.
union experience has been with
the Teamsters, at the Montreal Bus Station
as an attendant
to information. We were a new
about 10 people hired by a
outsourcing company. A summer job that
finally lasted six years, at 40 hours / week at minimum wage with executives too
As long as having a boss, as much to defend oneself, this is
which is why I later joined the IWW, a Wobblie.
But initially, I was not a convinced trade unionist.
This first experience with the Teamsters has me
even rather disgusted with unions.
By entering, I
knew my hourly rate, but not much more. Nobody said anything to us. This is
our boss, One day, who told us we would be unionized
with the Teamsters. It's funny, because I
don't remember ever signing a membership card. AT
the time, I have
even suspicious that it is our boss who finds us a union; now
I understand that we were fooled, big time.
Un an (or two)
later, a colleague, no longer lit at
his rights, and I started
to chat . Sometimes with other colleagues.
Our working conditions were really harsh. We wanted more than the
minimum wage, at least 3-4$ Furthermore. Especially since half of the staff had been there since
more than 10 years. Many had children. We knew that if we
structured, we could go get some money. And
if we had a copy of our
collective agreement. I was not even sure
what it was. We went around, no one had it. To my memory, our boss gave us a copy.
having leafed through our convention, we understood that
had to elect delegates
and that many of our working conditions were not
respected. We contacted
Teamsters offices, so that we
explains a little how it all works. We were given the number of our union advisor,
the one who had to answer our
Questions, help us to
organize and defend
our rights. Joining him was painstaking.
He was very busy he said.
We were obviously not on his priority list.
It looked like a whole union
crooked. Not too interested in
we. To send us a paid guy 3-4 times our salary, that got us
made very unfriendly.
We contacted the CSN, see if we could not embark with them. It
couldn't be worse and maybe the idea
losing our dues would wake up the Teamsters. It was
very complicated for I don't know what to have
a frank response from the CSN. We were however
in time for the change of accreditation. After
some exchanges, it fell to
the water. A young
friendly adviser tells us that the plant was not very
interested, among other things because
would not pay much in contributions.
this episode, our negotiations arriving, even
if we didn't feel supported, we tried to organize
meetings by ourselves. We had to get organized
and obviously nobody would do it for us. We had to talk to our colleagues and ask questions : who
stands with who? Who wants what? Who is potentially trusted, who
would vote for leverage, for a strike? It
was messy. What now
at the IWW I call from
"Restlessness, education, of inoculation, you
social mapping, etc. "
We put up posters to announce an assembly. We spent
small leaflets. I was really funny to put on
posters with quotes from Karl Marx. Mon boss, his, laughed less. We
didn't have the right to talk about a union at work. Of
their edge by cons, our bosses pretended to meet
individual about the schedule for
threaten colleagues, know who said what ...
oldest used to obtain information,
to spread rumors that the company is closing and that
lose our jobs if we go on strike.
union presslessly returned our calls and was rarely,
never there. At our first meeting, during
which we refused
the boss offer,
our counselor spoke aggressively, repeated the same
rumors that executives were circulating, said we should
accept the 50 proposed increase signs or go out with the right pegs.
We stopped trusting him the day we
saw him by chance in a restaurant not
away eating with our boss, looks like two good
boyfriends. I was in tabarnak.
During the second
Assembly, the boss’s offer made us climb by
1,50$ (about) /h. The more combative small group
that we were
tried to push for more, but the assembly
voted in favor. Our advisor
says that in 3 years, we might be better ... this same
guy who had more in common with our boss treated us like kids,
idiots. It made me hate
Gang of sold me
said to myself. The power plants and their platform managers
employees, more concerned insurance companies
by industrial peace that the working and living conditions of my class.
rediscovered unionism in a better light
meeting Wobblies. When I was told that a
real union, it is the workers who train it and who
give it its colors. That the legal model of
insurance company, it’s a resounding failure.
That it is certainly not by accepting the status quo that we will avoid the wall towards which the
capitalism makes us sink.
From my first
experience with a corporatist union, I’m
remember this : must speak to
our colleagues; ask them
what they do and how to get more, know what
pisses them off, remind them that a boss is a boss, even
if he has a smile; understand that it will not be
simple, that our colleagues (and ourselves), waves
Still unionized with the IWW, but also by a “legal” union, I keep in mind that we have to protect ourselves from the boss, but often also from the heavily paid union, who's afraid of losing control. Especially if we don't want to be content to sign an agreement, but put the power back on the work floor.