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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Sunday, December 24, 2006 ::

    What’s the world like without unions? - By Nancy Shakir, FayObserver.com, Fayetteville NC
    Does abuse by business owners continue today? You bet! For example, Human Rights Watch reports today that in Aguila, Ariz., the only employer is Matori, a large cantaloupe farm. By law, farm owners are supposed to supply water for workers. At Matori, they do not. Instead, they sell soda or beer for $1 to $1.50. Child laborers are not educated and all workers are subjected to dangerous pesticides.

    In a recent article entitled “Good Reasons for So Few Unions Here,” Richard Berman, director for the Center for Union Facts, a D.C.-based organization opposed to union activities, gave his answers to that statement. He speaks of the violations of federal labor laws and discrimination violations. However, Mr. Berman fails to mention in his attack on two unions — namely, the United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here — that trustees serving on his organization include Michael Morgan, personnel director for Northern Foods, a Britain-based food processing and manufacturing company. Norman Brinker, founder of the Steak and Ale restaurant chain, and Chris Sullivan, president and founder of Outback Steakhouses.

    Berman’s organization opposes a living wage as well as mandated health benefits for workers. They support more part-time jobs for American workers because the arrangement offers more “flexibility.” What it really means is lower wages, fewer benefits for workers but increased profits for owners. It’s clear that Berman and his trustees are not impartial when they are working to reduce wages and benefits for perhaps their own restaurant and food workers.
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