This story about the outrage of the National Restaurant Association and the unionbusters who service it over the workers who dare unionization and then everyone else who supports unions is pretty funny. The petulance is pretty good generally. But then there’s this:
“The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, every newspaper reports on every union win… when an unfair labor practice charge is filed, when there are challenges to elections,” said Felice Ekelman, a principal at Jackson Lewis, one of the oldest and most infamous union avoidance law firms in the country. “When did this become first page news?”
“And guess who’s reading it?” replied Laura Pierson-Scheinberg, one of Ekelman’s Jackson Lewis colleagues, as the two sat across from each other on the main stage of the summit. “My kids. Literally. I have an 18-year-old, my kids are into it.”
The two lawyers were discussing a new threat for the restaurant industry: the unexpected rise of union campaigns in workplaces that, for decades, have largely been immune from such organizing efforts.
Yes, their own kids hate them. And really, could a unionbusting lawyer deserve a more appropriate fate?
Still, restaurant executives are on notice. One chain in the northeast, Ekelman told the conference, was following the news of these union campaigns and reached out to her saying, “‘We want to get started, we want to get ahead of the curve.’”
“Before, I used to say… ‘[Unionization] isn’t a problem for you in the restaurant industry,’” said Pierson-Scheinberg. But now, she warned, “Kids do not care about paying union dues. Two percent of pay, are you kidding me? Their Netflix costs more. They think it’s a hell of a deal.”
The “kids,” she added, are organizing workplaces which would have previously seemed unreachable.
“How does Kentucky have a unionized [coffee shop]?” Pierson-Scheinberg asked. “The answer is because it’s a social issue. And it’s done by the employees, not by the unions.”
At least she realizes that this is something happening from below and not from SEIU offices or whatever. Whether that helps her bust those unions or not, I don’t know. But again, at least her kids hate her.