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Thu Apr 25, 2013, 12:17 PM

Guitar Center Workers Launch Union Effort Under Bain Ownership, Citing Pay Rate Drop

Source: Huffington Post

Dave Jamieson

Ernest Hampson has been working at Guitar Center for six years, not a brief span in the world of retail. During that time, the 26-year-old Brooklyn resident said he's seen a pattern emerge for many workers at the nation's largest music equipment retailer.

"Guitar Center workers are doing more work, and they're getting paid less for it," said Hampson, an assistant manager at the retailer's Brooklyn location.

Citing what they describe as deteriorating working conditions, Hampson and other dissatisfied Guitar Center workers in New York City are in the midst of a unionization effort. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), a powerful labor union in the metro area, recently filed an election petition involving the retailer's flagship store in Manhattan.

Although Guitar Center has fended off unionization efforts in the past, the latest campaign appears formidable. The union has acquired election authorization signatures from roughly 80 percent of workers in the expected bargaining unit in New York. According to RWDSU, Guitar Center has hired the well-known and pricey union-avoidance firm Jackson Lewis.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/guitar-center-bain-union_n_3154828.html?1366904471



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Reply Guitar Center Workers Launch Union Effort Under Bain Ownership, Citing Pay Rate Drop (Original post)
Omaha Steve Apr 2013 OP
leftyohiolib Apr 2013 #1
deurbano Apr 2013 #6
leftyohiolib Apr 2013 #9
Ahpook Apr 2013 #2
prairierose Apr 2013 #4
okaawhatever Apr 2013 #19
Crabby Appleton Apr 2013 #5
Ahpook Apr 2013 #15
kelliekat44 Apr 2013 #20
Initech Apr 2013 #3
blm Apr 2013 #7
OnyxCollie Apr 2013 #13
SemperEadem Apr 2013 #14
blm Apr 2013 #16
harmonicon Apr 2013 #17
BuddhaGirl Apr 2013 #8
groundloop Apr 2013 #10
BuddhaGirl Apr 2013 #12
Sunlei Apr 2013 #11
truthisfreedom Apr 2013 #18

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 12:35 PM

1. good - waiting on the rest of american workers to fight to organize

Last edited Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:01 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 01:18 PM

6. Agree they need to organize, but disagree American workers are spineless.

Money and power have been heavily invested by the enemies of workers to not only bust unions, but to demonize them. Workers need support, and not just from their own spines. (It would sure be nice to see some more legislation on BEHALF of the rights of workers...)

And it may be easier for that single 26-year-old (without kids?) at Guitar Center to risk the possible ramifications than a 46… or 56-year-old…. (Or not, depending on the situation.)

At any rate, I applaud the Guitar Center workers and hope their efforts inspire others. (Workers and their allies, alike.)

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Response to deurbano (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:04 PM

9. agreed - post changed - fear of employer retribution has gone along to destroy them as well

Last edited Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:18 PM - Edit history (1)

from http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022753892#post1
trying to unionize face to face can be dangerous as people can get fired, and no one wants to risk it.0
maybe i should change it back

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 12:41 PM

2. I hope it works out for them

I also keep hearing rumblings that Guitar Center is about to go under, but who knows for sure? They have some serious debt last time I saw the numbers.

I went through a vote a few years ago that got really nasty. The owner had no trouble saying she would close up if it passes.

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Response to Ahpook (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 12:56 PM

4. Well if they were bought by Bain, they do h ave serious debt....

that is Bain's business plan. Buy a business by borrowing money and then load that debt on the company. Then steal any assets, like pensions, that are not nailed down and declare bankruptcy. Walk away with every asset the company had and leave the wreckage leaving America's actual taxpayers to clean up the mess.

Parasites, destructive parasites that is all these hedgefunds and equity fund companies are. This has been going on since the 1980's and there are few assets left in this country. They have been stolen and hidden in tax havens.

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Response to prairierose (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 07:26 AM

19. Sadly, they probably will unionize and then like the Hostess Bakery debacle, the pr. equity firm

will close/sell/file bankruptcy on the business and blame the union. I hope not, but the Hostess story became all about the union tanking the biz and not about the failure of management, the debt structuring and outdated machinery.

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Response to Ahpook (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 01:18 PM

5. I keep hearing the same

There is suppose to be some other developments revealed in the next few months; big debt trouble.

http://www.musictrades.com/news8.html

..due to the $165.3 million tab for servicing the interest on $1.5 billion in debt incurred in the 2007 acquisition by Bain Capital. Full year 2012 revenues advanced 2.7% to $2.13 billion, compared to $2.08 billion a year ago and operating income, before interest charges, was $95.6 million, versus a loss of $97.0 million last year. 2011 results included a one-time $153 million non-cash write down of trademarks and goodwill for the Musician’s Friend direct response unit. After interest charges of $165.3 million 2012, the retailer posted a net loss $72.1 million. For the fourth quarter, Guitar Center sales advanced 2.6% to $682.2, compared to $612.5 for the same period a year ago. The fourth quarter loss narrowed dramatically to $1.5 million.

Heavy losses and periodic downgrades by credit agencies, have raised concerns about Guitar Center’s creditworthiness and long term viability. Given the debt repayment schedule, the concerns may be overblown. At current sales levels, Guitar Center has sufficient liquidity to meet its bond repayment schedule for the next three years while funding operations. Meeting the $983 million bond payment, due in 2017, will present more of a challenge, but management seems confident about securing the necessary cash or equity injection.

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Response to Crabby Appleton (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:24 PM

15. Being a guitarist..

I'm in Guitar Center all the time since its the only game in town. The few smaller stores that are left seem to stay above water with rentals and lessons. Their selection of guitars or amps are really bad. Gibson for instance will not even deal with smaller shops. Apparently they have to be able to move a certain amount of merchandise or they won't work with them. Never understood Gibson and that kind of business plan. If Guitar Center goes under that would kill companies like Gibson since they went all in with them?

Anyway, I was talking to one of the managers at Guitar Center and he said Mesa Boogie just pulled their line out of the stores. That raised an eyebrow.

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Response to Ahpook (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 07:35 AM

20. They need a healthy dose of support from the musicians who buy their products. Entertainers should

unite behind them even it means that they too take some pay cuts..not the "starving musicians" but I mean the very well-known, highly paid performers.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 12:47 PM

3. The only way to fight back against these soulless vultures is to organize.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 01:27 PM

7. Guitar Center was a quality establishment with an awesome atmosphere before Bain

bought it and turned it into a box store.

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Response to blm (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:53 PM

13. I was looking for a guitar recently

and went to Guitar Center. I thought the place was dumpy and the employees appeared overworked and bitter. (Having worked at Borders for five years before it went under, I can make that assessment with confidence.)

I ended up going to Sam Ash, where I got better service and a great guitar at a great price.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 03:09 PM

14. Sam Ash is a far better place

I agree about the attitudes of those who work at GC. I did buy from them in the past when they were about something, but their whole vibe turned me off when I recently went there to look at a guitar.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 05:12 PM

16. Early 80s Guitar Center on Sunset was a happening place. Post-Bain it's now Sucksville

.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 05:50 PM

17. I don't know if it's nation-wide...

but I learned years ago when shopping for something that Sam Ash and Guitar Center shared the same warehouse space. That is, the wholesale was one in the same, and they had some agreement about dividing this up retail-wise. That was in Hollywood. Sam Ash definitely did offer better service.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 01:42 PM

8. Link to their Facebook page

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Response to BuddhaGirl (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:12 PM

10. done. and thanks for the link

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Response to groundloop (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:32 PM

12. You're welcome!

Seems like they are deleting comments, mine seems to have disappeared

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 02:32 PM

11. my heart goes out to the employees but Bain owns you now.

It's sad to see everything people worked for to create Unions chipped away to nothing., Starting when Reagan fired the air traffic controlers.

Maybe back President Obama asked to raise the minimum federal wage to 9.00 an hour? States would have to match that minimum wage. Of course republicans block that federal action.

Plus visa foreign workers would have to be paid 9.00 an hour. (well 5 an hour after the contractors take their cut for profits) Wouldn't be worth it to bring in visa workers. That would encourage more businesses to hire Americans.

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