National team failed workers

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 22 2014 | 11:01 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:21 am in
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By James Serbousek

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I am writing in response to Rick Moyle’s Jan. 10 guest column, titled “South Slope mistreats employees.” The author (executive director, Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO, Cedar Rapids) was not involved in union negotiations with South Slope Cooperative Communications in North Liberty and has no firsthand knowledge of the situation. His outside opinion and agenda does not speak for many of us here at South Slope.

As a union-represented South Slope employee, I would like to provide a perspective from within South Slope.

I would ask everyone to support South Slope as a whole and not just a specific group or part of the company. As a South Slope employee of 15 years, I have witnessed some very significant changes for the better in the past couple of years under the current management. Employees are more involved in helping define our culture and the direction of our company than ever before.

As a bargaining unit employee who works under the Communications Workers of America contract and was affected directly by the one-day lockout, I have no hard feelings toward the company, management or fellow employees.

However, I am disappointed greatly in our national representation, which knew for three years that the previous contract expired Oct. 31 but refused to call a vote on the new proposed contract until Nov. 3. Simply refusing to call a vote on a new contract before the current contract expires is basically unheard of. Without a contract and no request for an extension of the old contract, what are the rules and wages we would have been working under?

Moyle states that we were locked out because the union voted against the contract, which is untrue. Ultimately, on Nov. 1, the company was forced into a bad position and the lockout occurred because there was no contract to work under. There are two sides to every story.

Please remember there are many great people on both sides of this discussion who work very hard to provide great service to our South Slope members. Please support South Slope as a whole, and not the outside people with nothing to lose who feel it is OK to run down our great cooperative.

I am treated well and it is my privilege to work at South Slope. Thank you for supporting South Slope and me in a positive manner.

James Serbousek of Ely has been a South Slope Cooperative Communications employee for 15 years. Comments: jamesserbousek@gmail.com

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