CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sorry About the Inconvenience!?

Eric Lee of LabourStart sent this along and we thought we should share it.

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference on the subject of online campaigning. One of the highlights was the appearance of someone from "the other side" -- the representative of a giant multinational corporation which has been the target of many campaigns. She was a pleasant enough spokesperson, and came with one very clear message to all of us from corporate headquarters: when you are about to launch a campaign, she said, please do contact us first so that we can agree on the appropriate email address and thus avoid disruption in the company.

This triggered a huge outburst of laughter from the conference participants. The whole point of campaigning is to both send a message -- and to cause disruption. That's what strikes do, that's what picket lines do, and that's what campaigns do. They disrupt the day-to-day functioning of their corporate targets.

I was thinking about this today because of some inside information we've just gotten about effects of two of our current LabourStart campaigns.

As both are in somewhat delicate stages of negotiation, I can't tell you the names of the companies, but I can tell you this:

-- In one company we targetted, according to a report from a union activist, "the boss had to get an IT Techie in to fix his computer when it jammed up with emails earlier in the week."

-- In another, "apparently the staff at [the company's] office are doing nothing but answering emails" from our campaign. The system has been "clogged up" as a result.

In at least one case, the union is offering to suspend the campaign if management will open negotiations. Online campaigns have become a kind of leverage, like picket lines and boycotts.

So even when we don't announce a victory in a campaign, that doesn't mean we're having no effect. We're sending a loud and clear message -- and we're causing disruption in the companies we target. It's not "business as usual" these days at Hoverspeed, XPonCard, Tenix, or LSG SkyChefs, nor should it be.


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