Friday, December 28, 2007

The Pro-Lori/ Anti-Union Petition: "Exhibit A" in the Case for Unionizing

Have you been approached to sign a “pro-Lori, anti-union” petition? If so, do you believe that the petitioner is acting strictly under his own initiative? Did he wake up and decide to start a counter-movement after reading the weird letter Lori recently mailed us all in response to an article in an AFSCME newsletter? Did he declare that he is taking his vacation hours to talk to you? Do his actions seem authentic or orchestrated?

Even if you wanted to, could you really say “no” to a pro-Lori petition--or to doing political dirty work on her behalf--without worrying about your job security? You are, after all, an at-will employee, and Lori can fire any of us for any reason or for no reason at all. Why does a state attorney general need nearly 300 "at-will" employees? It makes no sense and it doesn't seem to jibe with the intent of Minn Stat 8.31.

In fact, if you do get fired, you’ll never know why, because the administration won’t tell you! Just ask the dozens of employees who have been fired from the office since January 1999. While you’re at it, ask them what it’s like to be called to the Capitol, summarily fired and then told they can’t return to their offices to pick up their personal belongings until after hours, and then only with an escort. If you think it can’t happen to you, think again! No attorney or legal assistant at the AGO—no matter how competent, how hard working or how loyal—is safe from this kind of treatment. We need the protection of a union contract for this very reason.

Sign the petition if you feel like you have to, but then find us to sign a card so you don't ever get put in this position again.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I've heard about this. One of Lori's pawns is asking people to sign a petition in opposition to the union effort. (I believe he was also one of the pro-Lori mouth pieces that bloggged during work hours on the MinnLawyer blogsite this spring)

This is troubling because it is blatent union busting--not to mention a poor "sampling" anit-union sentiment. In the fear culture that is the office, who has the guts NOT to sign? Not signing that petition is probably even more risky than signing a union card. DFLers should never be asked to sign a petition opposing unions. Not fair.

Maybe the circulator will make his first rounds with the phone room/mediator staff. After all, weren't they the good-hearted souls that spent their Thanksgiving Holiday hand writing mailing adresses on Lori's holiday greetings? I'm sure they had nothing better to do.

Anonymous said...

When you are approached, maybe the appropriate response should be that YOU don't intend to use your own vacation/personal time that would need to be used in order to this discuss with him during work hours....

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Swanson: I don't work at the Attorney General's Office, but I am a supporter of organized labor. I voted for you in part because of the "L" in your endorsement, and because I thought you were a friend of the workers of Minnesota. Now I hear that not only are you refusing to recognize the majority of your own employees who are asking simply to meet and talk with you, but you have taken it one step further and have a pawn in your office circulating an anti-union petition on your behalf! Shame on you! I certainly don't expect you to follow along with every position taken by the groups that endorsed you, but I should think that you would at least support the fundamental issues. Have you had a change of heart and no longer support organized labor? Or, are you terrified that having a voice, (and some job security), might lessen the power you now have over the staff, based on the atmosphere of fear your predecessor created, and you have continued? I hope the unions un-endorse you, if that is possible. You are an embarrassment, and your actions are a detriment to the labor movement.

Anonymous said...

Lori will just never get it.

First, welcoming a union would solidify her DFL credentials, and make her look less like a Hatch clone and more like her own person, something that voters would like to see.

Second, as a result of tactics like this, along with other major missteps, she's lost about 1/3 of her lawyer staff this year. This is a referendum on her tenure so far and it shows her to be doing something seriously wrong. Yet, she fails to see that things aren't working, and she's buried her head in the sand.

Lori suffers from a serious short-sightedness. She thinks she's winning, but while she may win a battle here and there, she's losing the war for the office. Ultimately, we will all suffer, the staff, Lori and her political future, and the "people of the State of Minnesota."