Thursday, July 10, 2003

Cintas, Immigrant Workers, Slavery and NAFTA

I've written before about UNITE's efforts to organize Cintas Corp., a Cincinnati-based laundry and uniform rental company. New developments:
Ninety members of Congress signed a letter sent to Cintas Corporation CEO Robert Kohlhepp urging the company to enter into a card-check neutrality agreement after hearing numerous reports about how Cintas management has responded to employees' efforts to organize a union. As stated in the letter, "Workers report that Cintas has mounted an extensive campaign aimed at dissuading employees from supporting the union through retaliatory firings, harassment, is our belief that employees cannot freely exercise their right to join a union in an environment where employers are coercing or trying to sway employee opinion."
Most of Cintas' employees are immigrants. The American Prospect has an excellent series this month on Immigrants in the New Economy. One article byuses Cintas as an example of how labor unions have taken the place of old time political machines in championing the rights of immigrant workers.

Other articles cover the health and safety hazards faced by immigrant workers, the failure of NAFTA, slavery-like conditions in the South