In an article entitled “Some Organizers Protest Their Union’s Tactics,”Steven Greenhouse looks at a disgusting organizing practice known as “pink sheeting.”
The title would be perfect but for the “Some” caveat that the paper feels is necessary to include. Don’t worry, New York Times, we get the fact its not EVERY labor organizer. Just more of them that anyone should be comfortable with.
But I digress. Here’s what you need to know about “pink sheeting,” a practice that involves coercing, recording, and then using sensitive personal information about people in order to elicit loyalty from union members, organizers, and potential members. It is, effectively black mail and a mind game, all rolled into one. And by sensitive personal information, we don’t mean that fact I have a weakness for lemon cookies.
“Ms. Rivera said her supervisors at Unite Here, the hotel and restaurant workers’ union, repeatedly pressed her to reveal highly personal information, getting her to divulge that her father had sexually abused her.
Later, she said, her supervisors ordered her to recount her tale of abuse again and again to workers they were trying to unionize at Tampa International Airport, convinced that Ms. Rivera’s story would move them, making them more likely to join the union.
“I was scared not to do what they said,” said Ms. Rivera, adding that she resented being pressured to disclose intimate information and then speak about it in public. “To me, it was sick. It was horrible.”
Ms. Rivera and other current and former Unite Here organizers are speaking out against what they say is a longstanding practice in which Unite Here officials pressured subordinates to disclose sensitive personal information — for example, that their mother was an alcoholic or that they were fighting with their spouse.
More than a dozen organizers said in interviews that they had often been pressured to detail such personal anguish — sometimes under the threat of dismissal from their union positions — and that their supervisors later used the information to press them to comply with their orders.
“It’s extremely cultlike and extremely manipulative,” said Amelia Frank-Vitale, a Yale graduate and former hotel union organizer who said these practices drove her to see a therapist.
Several organizers grew incensed when they discovered that details of their history had been put into the union’s database so that supervisors could use that information to manipulate them.
Unite Here is claiming the whole thing is propaganda by the SEIU. And it probably is. Wouldn’t surprise me.
Read the rest of the story at The New York Times. It’s worth the effort.