Grit Nation

Voter Suppression - Mark McDermott

October 18, 2020 Mark McDermott Season 1 Episode 1
Grit Nation
Voter Suppression - Mark McDermott
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Fight Club. 

Fight Club is the, call to action’ segment within Grit Northwest. 

It’s built to educate and motivate you to fight back against attacks on your right’s as a Union Carpenter to provide for yourself and your family. 

Fight Club is not for excuse makers or finger pointers. 

If standing proud, with your brothers and sisters to protect what’s ours is not your cup of tea, you can stop reading now.

Fight Club members care about their careers and aren’t afraid to take action to protect it. They don’t assume or expect someone else to do the heavy lifting needed to strengthen their union and better their lives. 

Fight Club members roll up their sleeves and get involved, because they understand and appreciate that a union is only as strong as its members. 

My question for you is, are you ready to join Fight Club?

Show Notes:

Mark McDermott

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Joe Cadwell:

Mark McDermott, welcome to Fight Club.

Mark McDermott:

Thank you, Joe.

Joe Cadwell:

It's great having you back on the show mark. The premise of Fight Club, as you know, is to identify a threat to our organization and to call our members into action. So Mark, what is that threat? And how do we stop it?

Mark McDermott:

I want to talk to all of your members, not only as union members, but as members of your extended families. We have an election coming up where we get to choose a president, the US Senate, and governors and members of the US House of Representatives, are they going to be pro worker and pro union or not? And if they are not pro worker, and they are not pro union, they are a threat to you and your family's long term well being? And let me be specific. Many of you might think, well, I'm a member of the carpenters union, I got a good deal. I'm secure. But what about all your family members who may be struggling economically and don't have unions in their workplace, and their future is less secure? I know you care about them. So let me describe the situation that they face. Support for unions in the United States is at a 50 year high. There are polls that have shown that if people have said if they could join a union tomorrow, would they do it 58 million Americans would join the labor movement tomorrow. If support for unions is growing, and there's 58 million people who want to join unions, and your union is spending a lot of resources trying to organize and build your union and make it stronger in all of the states where you are represented. Why aren't we growing? Why aren't you growing? Well, because the labor laws are deeply broken. And there is fear and intimidation and rampant law breaking by employers to make sure that workers can exercise their legal rights to want to join a union. Under current Federal Labor Law, a worker has a right to organize a union, free from intimidation, and fear and interference by the employer. And they can't be retaliated against. That's the law. Okay. But let's talk about how this really works. The example is what are called captive meetings. Employers in the United States have a legal right, which has been defended by the US courts that say they can require everybody in the workplace, to come to a meeting, whether they want to or not, and has to listen to the employer and his or her representatives, bash the union. This is done all the time, during the union elections and organizing drives, you were forced to be there against your will. You have to listen to their propaganda and their lives. And if you say anything, start arguing with them, they know who you are. And then they can put a little note by your name and go, we need to get rid of you. Now it's illegal to do that for that purpose. But the fact that they can force you to attend those meetings and listen to their propaganda is profoundly undemocratic. Imagine the following, and how you would feel we have a fiercely contested presidential election right now. And suppose your employer said, Hey, you have to come to a meeting tomorrow at 10am. And I'm going to spend an hour bashing Donald Trump, or I'm going to spend an hour bashing Joe Biden, you have to listen to me whether you want to or not. I think everybody who is listening on this call, would say, Are you kidding me? My employer has no right to be telling me and forcing me to listen to them about who I should or should not be voting for. Okay, they have no right to do that whatsoever. And I would agree, we would all be outraged. But that is standard practice in union organizing drives in the United States today. No employer should have the right to force you to come to a meeting and listen to them tell you about whether or not you should or should not join a union. Your decision to join a union is a private decision that you should be able to make without your employer having any say so what all because what you were doing is you're voting to say, I want the carpenters union directly represent me and my fellow co workers to see if we can improve our situation. It's like hiring a lawyer in a sense. Okay. Why would the employer have the right to come in and say, Hey, you got to listen to me while I probably you, officially and legally, they can't retaliate. But then they say, ah, Jones and Williams are the two ringleaders of the effort to bring you into into our company. Get rid of them. know if they're smart. And they usually hire what are called the union busters. Be smart about it, don't fire them for directly trying to organize union because we could lose, and they may be forced to hire them back. So find some other way to get rid of them. Okay, and then make sure we never hire them back. The worst that can happen to the employer is they might have to hire you back at a later date, but it might take 18 months or two years. There are no significant financial penalties to the employer for this, the worst they have to do is give you your back pay. Well, under those circumstances, you fire two or three of the ringleaders you intimidate everybody else in the Union drive dies. This is what it's like living in an America where the current president and the current US Senate. And the federal courts have said, even though you have a legal right, organize a union. And you get to do it free from intimidation and fear and retaliation. This is a form of intimidation, in putting fear into your mind and into your heart. This is profoundly undemocratic. And one of the big issues in this campaign for president in US Senate is whether or not we're going to have a president and a US Senate and a US House that's going to change the federal labor laws. So that workers have more rights to be able to form unions, and build our labor movement and improve the situation for not only ourselves, but our families in our communities. So if you're sitting on the sidelines and not voting, you're making a big mistake. And I urge you to make sure you know which of these candidates are actively standing up for the rights of workers and the rights of unions. It will have a long term effect on your future. sitting on the sidelines is a mistake. We need to make these labor laws real. We need to toughen up the penalties so that if they fire you, you get treble damages. And begin to put the fear into employers who get away with this. Literally thousands and thousands of workers are fired this way, every year using slightly different methods. And all they got to do is give you your backpack. They make it all back because they smashed the union drive. know who you're voting for? Listen to who your union is recommending. And don't vote for people who are going to undercut your rights to fairly decide whether or not you want to Union in the workplace. And for those of you who live in right to work Idaho, and in states where the union movement is weak, your wages are much lower, your benefits are worse. And that is a direct result of anti union laws that are systematically undercutting your ability as union members and also the larger group of workers in your state to form unions. If you want a good future, you better vote for people who were pro union.

Joe Cadwell:

So Mark, it sounds like the threat has been identified. And our action is to have our members show up in force at the ballot box is coming November 3, is that correct?

Mark McDermott:

That's correct.

Joe Cadwell:

Mark, it's been great having you on the show. Thank you so much for your time, looking forward to having you back here in the near future. Thank you, Joe.