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"regarding the harassment...": hey KC, any links to facts about that stuff or is "hear say" only bad when people are talking about your boss? I'd say their posts speak for themselves, Rich. ;)
I'm not misleading my readers, but I find your lame and pathetic attempts at indimidation to be hysterically funny. That excerpt came from Richard Applebaum's and Peter Dreier's reply to Dov Charney's letter to them in The Nation. Do bother to check out the actual link I posted, but in case you're too lazy, here's Charney's letter and their reply: AMERICAN APPAREL & UNITE In "SweatX Closes Up Shop" [July 19/26], Peter Dreier and Richard Appelbaum stated that because of a "vicious intimidation effort" directed against UNITE and employees supporting that union, Los Angeles-based American Apparel was required to enter into a settlement agreement by the National Labor Relations Board. American Apparel's settlement was voluntary and contains no admission of wrongdoing. American Apparel further responds: Los Angeles American Apparel never engaged in any anti-union campaign, let alone one involving "vicious intimidation." This can be verified by our workers employed during UNITE's September 2003 membership drive. We have always supported our workers' fundamental civil right to unionize or be free of a union. The union was trying to politically force American Apparel into embracing it, regardless of worker interest. They claimed they would make us their poster child and help us obtain financial support if we cooperated. We refused to go along with this conspiracy against our work force and the public. On the strong advice of antisweatshop advocates in Los Angeles, we offered UNITE an election--even when the union had not demonstrated the proper show of interest required by federal law for an official election. The union refused. The antiunion sentiment at American Apparel stemmed from a grassroots effort by workers themselves, who realized that the union was attempting to use them and the company to gain a California foothold. The workers were infuriated when they learned: (1) the union falsely stated that I personally endorsed their effort; (2) the union failed to inform them about dues; (3) of UNITE's long history of corruption and nearly empty California membership. Workers organized other workers to write letters to the union, sign a petition and demonstrate against the union in front of our building, demanding that they did not want to be represented by UNITE. Shamed by its unpopularity, UNITE manufactured charges against the company to generate publicity. We settled the charges on the advice of the NLRB, which highly discouraged litigation in a letter claiming it would be "costly and time consuming." Under the terms of the settlement, we put up posters and made announcements assuring that workers had the right to unionize without company interference. For a century, unions have argued that worker well-being is good business. We have made this principle a central tenet of our company. With more than 2,000 employees, our factory is now the largest cut-and-sew facility in the United States. Our garment workers are some of the highest paid in the world, some earning as much as $18 an hour (versus the less than $0.25 sweatshop workers often earn). Ironically, because we refuse to outsource to factories domestically or internationally, our company is one of the most "unionizable" operations in our industry. Our workers have access to affordable healthcare, paid time off and other benefits. Our formula is simple: We make products that improve people's lives, both those buying and those making them. Years ago, Dreier asked that I embrace UNITE; I refused. Were these false accusations an act of retaliation? Is he not in a conflict of interest? For years, Dreier has religiously championed SweatX while continuously dismissing the legitimacy of American Apparel. Both authors have deep intellectual ties to the union movement and staunchly claim "only an independent, democratic labor union can guarantee that a sewing factory is sweat-free, whether in the United States or overseas." Perhaps Dreier wrote so favorably about SweatX to justify the intellectual support he had provided them at numerous lectures and to the media. In the end, the article is clearly self-serving for the authors' academic agendas. DOV CHARNEY Senior partner, American Apparel . . . . APPELBAUM AND DREIER REPLY Santa Barbara; Los Angeles American Apparel senior partner Dov Charney's concerns are centered around two sentences in our article that referred to his company. We wrote about SweatX, not American Apparel, but we wish to set the record straight. Against overwhelming odds, UNITE has been working hard to improve the working and living conditions of vulnerable low-wage immigrant workers. In September 2003, UNITE launched a unionization drive at American Apparel, leafleting the factory and visiting with workers off-site. The drive, in which workers were asked to sign cards authorizing a union election, proved to be short-lived. Within a week, according to sworn affidavits filed by nonunion American Apparel workers as well as union organizers, the company allegedly engaged in a number of unlawful activities aimed at thwarting the election. Specifically, UNITE charged that American Apparel had § excluded union organizers from the company parking lot, threatening them with arrest if they didn't leave; § threatened to shut down the factory if organizers entered; § questioned employees about their support for the union, including asking those who had signed authorization cards to withdraw them; § surveilled employee union activities. In addition, according to the affidavits, management put enormous pressure on workers to reject the union, which management portrayed as ineffective, dishonest, costly and counter to the workers' interests. A common claim, as alleged in the affidavits, was that if the factory unionized it might be forced to close. Although workers were initially receptive to the union (more than a hundred election authorization cards were reportedly handed out the first day of the drive), the affidavits claim that a well-orchestrated program of antiunion activity quickly turned workers sour through false claims and thinly veiled intimidation. The NLRB determined that the allegations were sufficiently serious "that injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the [National Labor Relations] Act may be warranted" (letter from NLRB to UNITE, October 15, 2003). In effect, the NLRB was prepared to take American Apparel to court. American Apparel then settled the matter by agreeing to read and post an NLRB notice laying out its workers' legal rights and pledging to refrain from engaging in the activities that UNITE claimed the company used to thwart the union drive. As is customary in such cases, the agreement also contained a clause stipulating that there was no admission of guilt on the part of American Apparel. On one point, however, Charney is correct: We are indeed pro-union. Workers who depend on the good graces of their employers (regardless of their claims to be well intentioned) are ultimately vulnerable to economic downswings, global competition and outright exploitation. The best way to know if a garment factory is "sweat free" is still to look for the union label. RICHARD APPELBAUM and PETER DREIER You keep insisting that people go to the factory. But someone did go to the factory to do a documentary. And it's very interesting what she found. While they were paid better, and conditions were better than a sweatshop, she also said that the workers you meet at the factory were very pro-Charney. The ones who had complaints were afraid to come forward for fear of losing their jobs--when the were interviewed, they asked their identities to be hidden. Quotes: You know, Dov was very transparent, and to his credit, he always said I let anybody, like United Students Against Sweatshops, you can go to the factory today if you call up and you say you want a tour. And the interesting thing is, though, you're gonna get a tour by someone who's very pro-Dov. And there's still very many pro-Dov people there that have been with him from the beginning, and Ruben, who's in the film, was rescued from the back of a chicken store, you know, living off the streets. He's brought in a lot of people from, from nothing. So of course, they're very, very loyal and protective. But then you also have a lot of people that are, are claiming that the workload is just too much and that things have to change. snip From the perspective of the sewers, and I can tell you that I've talked to about 5 that could not come on camera because they were too worried about losing their jobs at American Apparel. It's not a nice place to work. It's a very difficult, difficult job. It's not unlike other garment factories they've been in. The ones who can't hack the pace usually leave or are fired. The older ones are kind of moved to the side and you know, there's only one area where the pace isn't so, so terrible. And the, usually those are where the older workers are. But uh, I think it's baby clothes or something, or bathing suits. And you know, if you can't hack the pace in the regular pods, you're moved out. And I also saw that was usually the recent immigrants, and the ones that were the most illiterate that were getting the jobs at American Apparel. And they had worked really bad factories in Central America. And Mexico. And so they were coming into a system that was just a couple of steps above what they were used to. So you know, for them, that was amazing. I mean, it's just the usual story, right, that you hear from the right. It's like well, they're a lot better off than they used to be. You know, but if the point is you're trying to, you're calling yourself an American revolution, or an industrial revolution, and you're trying to overthrow the garment industry and you're only giving fifty cents more and the workers are only that much more uh, you know, benefiting from the work, I don't know. You deride UNITE as a biased source, but give all kinds of cred to your company. as if they're more credible or less biased. I don't buy it. So we could take your advice and go to the factory and talk to any worker. They'll all say they didn't want the union--even though the workers who did, or who feel the conditions aren't all Charney hypes them to be are too afraid of losing their jobs to speak freely about it. Finally, I do find it telling that anytime something new and unflattering about Charney or AA pops up in the blogosphere, we've got a slew of "defenders" swarming on the posts (and past posts), Holocaust victim, spreading unsbustantiated rumors about the plaintiffs, red-baiting, and tap-dancing around the company's union problems. Even WalMart doesn't freak out nearly as much as you all do, but maybe you figure that this new and edgy media is the way to reach people. It is, and it's populated by folks who are sick to death of corporate America and their shills and lame-ass astroturfing attempts. Why what a handful of bloggers think about Charney and AA is beyond me, since AA's shills make their contempt for anyone who isn't pro-AA quite clear. Maybe you're all starting to feel the heat. Cope.
Countess, re: your first comment, I've actually seen a video of him walking around the factory in his undies, and going up to the workers who were making them excitedly telling them that they fit great, workers seemed amused, but not threatened. He does run a clothing company that makes underwear, remember, it's not like he's a madman running around a bank like that. It's a little bit about context. Give me a break. This is the worst excuse I've heard. One usually tests underwear under their clothes, and they don't feel the need to conduct interviews or do work with their personal assistants in nothing but their skivvies. As far as sleeping with his employees goes, some companies don't allow this at all, cause it can get messy, and some do. AA is obviously one that does, but I don't think it does women any great service to assume they are being used because they choose to get into a relationship with the boss. If everything is out there and everything is consensual, then I have no problem with it, prima facie. Problem is, there are women who feel that it created a hostile work environment--and if they are conveniently told they aren't performing up to snuff when they've refused the boss (and when male coworkers don't have to field advances from the CEO), it doesn't help. Not to mention the fact that the CEO has an awful lot of power--despite the naive assertions that of course people could refuse, the reality is that people may not feel they can. And they shouldn't have to deal with being propositioned--or asked for blow jobs or group masturbation sessions--from the boss. Period. asha, I took the complaint very seriously (which is not to say I assumed it was true, innocent til proved guilty right?) until I looked into it a little more, and gave it some critical thought. Actually, so have I, and so have Charney's critics. He's openly admitted to behaving like this, the women do claim to have tried to take it to the company first. Though I do admit, I've never heard the golddigger defense. That is just so new. As is spreading unsubstantiated gossip about the plaintiffs--I mean, innocent until proven guilty, right? But who cares as long as the witch hunt is focused on the uppity golddigging bitches? By the way, Maya, it's the rare sexual harassment case that nets the plaintiff any sizable award--they're usually done to stop the harassment and hold people in power accountable. Especially a CEO who lied to his insurance company that of course he had a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. But do go on and parrot the myth about jackpot lawsuits. Really, it's amusing. And I've also never heard the comment that not worshipping Charney means we blindly hate him and AA. Do try and use the critical thinking skills you claim to have--looking askance at Charney and his behavior doesn't indicate hate, though it's a cute red herring on your part. AA certainly does seem to have its share of . . .shills defenders who all sound an awful lot alike. Who post almost the exact same things and the exact same story on different blogs under different names (such as JC/spendthrift). And the astroturfing blogs out there for AA are, I'm sure, just a coincidence. There have been people who had some pretty horrible experiences at AA, with Charney, who have posted on the blogs that covered the sexual harrassment and union busting stories. Oddly enough, they're dismissed as "disgruntled." So we've got golddiggers, prudes, and disgruntled employees all oppressing a wealthy and entitled White guy who admits to his behavior. My heart just bleeds.
I'm going to lay a lot of this crap at the DLC's door--they and the "New Democrats" (aka conservatives in tie-dyes) have fucked things up royally, dismiss progressives, workers, women, gays,and people of color, and then expect our votes as fucking tribute. They might not be all of the Democrats, but they're setting the tone, and it's killing the party. The 2000 election debacle showed some pretty damn horrific indifference to the disenfranchised constituents in Florida. The majority of whom were Black. It wasn't until the 2004 election, with objections to the count in Ohio, that Barbara Boxer decided to give her signature. I recall her saying something about F9/11 as the reason for her doing this--she was ashamed that not one Democratic Senator signed a complaint presented over the disenfranchisement in Florida. I don't think it's divisive to point out that ignoring this was a slap in the face, and that it potentially alienated a lot of the rank-and-file.
"Woops- you're right. Stupid me." No, not stupid, and I shouldn't have been so snotty. This subject gets everyone hot under the collar. Look, just FYI, Chafee isn't my first, second, or third choice, even though I do have respect for him. Then again, Kerry wasn't my first choice--most of us Massachusetts folks were pissed off beyond belief when he voted for the war--but I voted for him anyway. He would have been better than Bush (and I know that's not saying much, since an inbred gorilla on a bad acid trip would be better than Bush). The New Democrats--pretty much interchangeable with the DLC--love the family values--they care about aligning with the middle class and pushing to the center. Maybe not all Dems get with it, but the DLC does, and they're setting the tone. At the last convention, that was all the rage. Maybe I should get with it, (at least the middle-class part, being middle-class and all) but I'm unimpressed. We have Hillary Clinton urging pro-choicers and pro-lifers to come together to push abstinence education. We've got a serious problem with STI's out there thanks to abstience programs. The DLC had a particularly fun time trashing "leftists" (mentioned like a curseword) in a rather red-baiting, anti-labor screed that praised the "New Democrats" vision of more conservative values--which closely aligned with the middle class. Where is there room for progressives in an organization that holds us in contempt? The thing is, Trish is right--we need people better than the average Democrat. We need people who are unafraid to be progressive and who'll say it loud and proud.
I've had to deal with depression, and you just can't snap out of it or dispell it the way Ellis so flippantly suggests. What more effective way to push someone towards suicide--confirm to them that they suck, they whine, they could get better if they really wanted to, and that since they're so flawed and weak that they won't, they should just exit. I'm probably coming off as extra-bitchy, but I've seen shitheads like this royally fuck up people suffering from depression. The only person suffering from arrogance here is Ellis.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2005 on Albert Ellis, voice of $!#@ reason at Majikthise