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Name: Taylor
Gender: Male
Hometown: Jupiter, FL
Home country: US
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,689

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Is Anti-Union Propaganda Widespread in Hiring Orientations?

For the first time in seven years I started a new job today at a major retail outlet (not Wal-Mart or Target). Everything was going well for the first few hours of orientation. I know a lot of jobs are P/T today, and I'm just trying to get some income while I study for a more stable career. The company seemed friendly and I was optimistic about my time there, even if it would only be for a few months.

But at the very end of a lengthy orientation, the Store Manager played an anti-union DVD, which was essentially propaganda. They talked about an "open door policy" to handle disputes, only to learn later that Target uses that exact same language in their anti-union propaganda presentations. They conjured up images of union leaders harassing employees in the parking lot, saying we were prime targets to help their struggling union membership. Most notably, they were adamant that union officials would try and trick employees to sign a document that would be deleterious to your relationship with the company.

Of course, they made it as wholesome as possible, having the spokespeople be a black woman, Asian woman, and older woman who all felt disillusioned by past union experiences. The theme of the video was that unions were trying to destroy the relationship between employee and employer.

I took such umbrage that I am seriously considering whether or not I can ethically work for this company.

First, they talk about the power of your signature. Each propagandist talked about how valuable their signature was and how they weren't going to give it away for free. However, upon orientation new hires are given multiple forms to sign, including an arbitration agreement that is hard to make sense of, especially by a fellow new hire who wasn't proficient in English.

Secondly, I never even thought of joining/starting a union. It's a P/T job and I don't plan to be there long term. Also, are unions really that interested in my dues for a job that would pay $16,000 for the equivalent of a F/T year. I've worked in retail for years and never been approached to join unions.

Third, in what should be a sign that unions are needed, they never discussed a starting salary and gave me the same minimum wage with seven years of experience as a student just out of high school.

Having not had more than a job or two in my life, I'm just wondering if this is the sort of thing that is commonplace in the year 2014. I've always known retail outlets were anti-union, but I was dismayed that they put out company sanctioned propaganda that basically portrayed unions as organizations out to steal your money but give no benefits in return.
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