The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 June 2007

Jobs action

Brian buys an iPhone, and encounters more than just fellow shoppers:

Because of traffic, the original AT&T store I planned to visit got bumped for a less obscure one. I got there right about 4:30 and had the fortune to get in line next to two very sweet women: one a college-aged fashionista who was moving to Mexico, the other a middle-aged, gadget-obsessed mother of three children and two large and two small dogs. About 50 people were in line at the time the store opened. They started letting folks in promptly at 6:00 PM. First a group of about ten, then a new person for each one that exited the store. Several television stations were there covering the event, as well as some "leafletting" Communications Workers of America representatives.

He didn't say what the CWA action was about, but I poked around for a minute or so and eventually happened upon this story from Middletown, Connecticut:

As they waited in line on Main Street Friday afternoon, hopeful buyers of the new iPhone were left to ponder the presence of a 15-foot-high inflatable rat. And not just any 15-foot-high inflatable rat, but one occupying its own parking space.

The rat symbolizes corporate greed, according to more than half-a-dozen officials and members of the Communications Workers of America. The CWA members were mounting an informational picket line outside the AT&T store at Court and Main streets.

The unionists are members of Local 1298 of the CWA, which represents AT&T store employees. William Horobin, a vice-president of the local, said their complaint was indirectly tied to the introduction of the new phone. "We have nothing against the phone" or against Apple, its manufacturer, Horobin explained. "Our argument is the way AT&T is treating its employees," Horobin said. "AT&T is 'The Rat'."

Meet the new monolith, same as the old monolith.

The issue involves what the union says is a policy change introduced just before the turn of the year that reduces employees' commissions. "What they did was to cut the amount of the commission, so that you have to sell more to make the same amount of money," Horobin explained. "Our thing is to let people know that AT&T is not a friendly employer," he said. "The new AT&T is not the old AT&T."

"There is no new thing under the sun." — Ecclesiastes 1:9

Similar picketing, said the CWA official, took place "across the country."

Posted at 4:51 PM to Dyssynergy