not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Saturday, January 20, 2007

ACORN and workers rights

ACORN is an organization that works in low and moderate income communities working towards social change. They go door to door in these areas finding out what people want changed in there area and setting up branches that will self organize to fight for things such as safer communities, forcing landlords to clean up buildings etc. The organization is run like a union so the member pay dues which allows acorn the freedom to piss off the government and big business since they don't get there funding through them. ACORN is able to get things done and wins battles since it has dedicated safe that are happy to go door to door building up motivation to self organize and they then have the experience to help with things such as setting up meetings, press releases, pressure, appropriate actions etc. The work both on local campaigns in the acorn branches that are specific to areas and they work on more general campaigns are beneficial to all working people. Sound great right. Well yeah if you want to work like a slave, don't care about your own community or family and friends. ACORN bends the rules of labour law. Which is interesting and continues the idea that working for an union is the worst workplace to work for. They seem to target university student activists who are use to giving 100% of there time and energy to campaigns and not getting paid or getting the bare minimum. The things is labour laws here say that 8 hours is the maximum hours to work in one day. This number didn't come from anywhere, it was a long and hard battle and I'm sure a group like ACORN would have been involved in this battle if they were around at the time. But here is the loop hole in the 8 hour day clause. You can work longer if it is agreed in writing. I believe that this clause is there so workplaces have the flexiblibty around crunch times or can allow someone to work longer hours but then less days. But ACORN doesn't use this loop hole for flexibibly its part of the deal 10 hour days for the first 4 days, no choice, thats they way it works. So of course if you start working there and signed your contract they it becomes legal, but I say that they are bending the rules. Then there is the over time rule which is less flexible. 44 is the maximum number of hours that one can work in a week, if you work over that the boss has to pay you time and a half. It is possible to have that be flexible and get time in luei which is very popular in europe. But again over time is suppose to be for crunch times. Again ACORN has bended the rules here. The pay via salary, which although is not that high is livable. But once you take into account that the 8 hours on your 5th day and the 4 hours on your 6th day push you over the edge and you are actually working forced 8 hours over time every week you start to realise that they are not really paying a living wage. For an organisation interested in low and moderate communities they are happy to pay there workers just over minimum wage. (This is assuming of course that they are following labour law and paying time and a half for those forced eight hours of over time.) And with only one day of rest just waiting for there workers to get burn out. People died at the Haymarket Riots for a reason and it was not to use the idea of fighting for the working class as an excuse to exploit your workers.


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