Co-op management's negotiations with its employees are acrimonious because they are guided by a union-busting lawyer ("Co-op Conflict," Aug. 1).
Management has hired Brad Kampus, who represents corporate managements in fighting unions. He attends all Co-op contract negotiations and advises management on taking an anti-employee position, as he advises corporate managers. (The union does not bring its lawyer to every negotiation. Bringing Kampus is thus unnecessary, unfair and confrontational.)
Kampus' web page boasts that he was praised by the Labor Relations Institute. That institute describes itself as "a consulting firm dedicated to maintaining the union-free workplace." The institute is associated with the neoliberal Heritage Foundation and it supports anti-labor officials such as Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Kampus' law firm is Jackson Lewis in San Francisco. It is notoriously combative against employees. Jackson Lewis offers "How to Stay Union Free" seminars with titles such as "Union Avoidance War Games."
The AFL-CIO has dubbed Jackson Lewis "the devil incarnate" and "the number one union-buster in America."
This firm does not cooperate with working people yet the Co-op hires it to guide negotiations with employees. It guides management to reduce employee benefits after having intensified work pressure by cutting the work force. This neoliberal strategy forces employees to seek public support outside the uncooperative Co-op.
The board is silent about all this!
The Co-op is using our patronage dollars to pay this anti-union, anti-cooperative, anti-community law firm. This diverts funds from employee benefits, community donations and Co-op operations to Jackson Lewis' neoliberal activities.
Co-op members should demand the general manager explain how much she is paying Kampus for fees and expenses to fly here, stay over and attend every negotiation. Co-op membership should direct her and the board to terminate this nefarious law firm and negotiate cooperatively.
Carl Ratner, Trinidad