How to Beat Back Union Busters
1. Work with Your State Association: They’ve Been There
At Edison, OEA helped organize and manage a strike headquarters to field phone calls from the media, raise awareness in the community and take donations for the strike fund. They secured picket signs and other strike materials, provided training about how to behave on the strike line, and ordered phones, laptops and other office equipment.
“The OEA president (Gary Allen at the time) went on the strike line,” says Susan Frampton, an Edison teacher. “That was so impressive to us.”
2. Know Your Rights
Read the National Labor Relations Act and know your federal, state and local labor laws.
One tactic by the Edison school board was the purchase of a full-page ad in a local newspaper listing contract salary information. ELEA filed a complaint in court. Though it was later dismissed, the filing of a complaint send a message to the board that they had better stay on the right side of the law.
3. Publish a Simple, Daily Newsletter and Deliver it to Each Site
HHTA published “On The Line.” Each of the six school sites received several sentences about what happened on a particular day. For example, “Two guards were seen napping on the front porch of the school.” Only four scabs went in this morning. Before lunch, the one in the multi-handicapped room was seen leaving in tears.” “Huffmaster is changing their morning routine.”
The newsletter also included “Today’s Hall of Fame,” which provided the opportunity to thank people for donating food, funds and their time to the cause. Members from other locals were also acknowledged.
4. Publish Flyers Aimed at Replacement Workers
HHTA published a letter stating, in part: “Attention Scab, Be aware that you are participating in union breaking activities. Unions are what made America what is today.”
5. Organize a Travelling Strike Team
On a rotating basis, have members report to a common area, then drive to an assigned site. “Huffmaster couldn’t keep track of us,” says Cheryl Wells, a Hopedale teacher. “That was entertaining.”
6. Start a Strike Fund
Teachers receive no compensation of any type from the district while on strike. About $13,000 was raised from locals and others across the state to support HHTA strikers.
7. Be Alert to the Early Signs of Possible Strike
• Years of antagonism between the school board and the Association
• A multitude of grievances
• Involuntary transfers
• Non-communication between the board and Association leaders for an extended period