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ACORN "Neutrality Agreement" Lacks Substance

By Seattle IWW, May 5, 2001

Two weeks ago ACORN and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) entered into informal negotiations when ACORN offered to settle with workers fired and locked out for forming a union with the IWW. ACORN proposed to rehire locked out Seattle workers with back pay, initiate a "labor-peace" agreement with the IWW with voluntary card check recognition nationally in exchange for IWW accepting the national bargaining unit and withdrawing Unfair Labor Practice charges against the ACORN.

The IWW accepted ACORN's offer in exchange for ACORN agreeing to give workers lunch breaks, timely and full paychecks (both required by Washington state labor law), a policy on sexual harassment (required by federal law), health care (promised in ACORN's employee manual), and a 40 hour week. The IWW also withdrew Unfair Labor Practice charges against ACORN in Philadelphia.

ACORN refused this request, offering only to add Portland ACORN workers to the bargaining unit in Seattle. Nearly all Portland ACORN workers scabbed on locked out Seattle workers. ACORN is also appealing Fellow Worker X352548's unemployment compensation, flying one of their lawyers to Philadelphia for a hearing on Monday. Fellow Worker X352548 spearheaded the union campaign in Philadelphia that quickly spread to other cities. "In Philadelphia we thought that ACORN made an honest offer to settle. We withdrew our Unfair Labor Practice charges against ACORN and expected them to continue negotiating in good faith. Instead they are appealing the unemployment I received after they fired me. And they are using membership dues for all of this!" said Fellow Worker X352548.

ACORN is also using the services of an additional attorney, Art Martin, whom has worked for unions in dispute with employers. "It's ironic that ACORN is using a lawyer who usually works for unions to bust our union efforts. I question the ethics of an attorney who will work for one union and help defeat another," said Julia Fitzsimmons, Seattle ACORN worker.

A hearing at the Labor Board in Seattle on May 9 will rule on the size of the bargaining unit.