I spent much of Saturday reflecting on Friday’s tremendous display of labor solidarity. With almost 200 individual participants, Friday’s picketing event in front of NetJets’ headquarters was inspiring to say the least. The sight of 4 labor groups fully unified for a common purpose was awesome. More importantly it sends an unmistakeable message to the remainder of the workforce and the public…something is seriously wrong with this management team. This was not a small group of malcontents. By number they represented nearly 7% of the total unionized workforce. By craft and class they were all represented proportionally. Some traveled great distances at their own expense to spend the day with their brothers and sisters. Others stepped out during lunch to join us, even if it was only for a few minutes. The range of emotion on display was as extreme as the range of workers. Many were excited and happy. Others appeared resigned to the fact this is what their employment relationship has become. Emotions not withstanding, each one pulled on the rope together in a huge display of resolve that the company attempted to characterize to the Columbus Dispatch as theatrics. I doubt when they made those statements they had any idea how large the cast on that stage would be. In any case the show caused the North facing windows of Bridgeway to fill with onlookers clamoring for a view of the stage across the street leaving little doubt in my mind that everyone in that building left work that afternoon with the full understanding of the deepening divide between senior management and Labor of all crafts and classes.
This common bond is exactly why we formed the NetJets Union Coalition (NUC). IBT local 284 President Paul Suffoletto and I have been discussing common interests for some time.
The formalization of this cooperative effort has come on the heels of a contentious winter for both of us. As we told Warren Buffet in a letter last week, neither of us seek labor unrest. In fact, we both want just the opposite. Sadly, I don’t believe Jordan Hansel shares that view. Friday’s demonstration was a direct response to poor behavior by management and is only the first of what will likely be a series of events tailored and timed to the events of the moment.
I couldn’t finish this post without recognizing everyone who took time to participate. All of the planning would have been for naught without your willingness to step up. In the end you are the Union and your participation is the only thing that matters. To those who served as Picket Captains or assisted in other ways during the event, thank you for volunteering your time. Finally, I could not end without saying a special thanks to Communications Director Elizabeth Lykins and Strategic Group Chair Pedro Leroux. Their tireless work made this all possible.
Together We Rise