||Issue No. 204||21 November 2003|
Holes in the Net
Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
Unions: Joel's Law
National Focus: Spring Carnival
Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
Industrial: The Price of War
Economics: Who's Got What
History: Containing Discontent
Review: An Honourable Wally
Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
Public Transport A Bit Rich
Yahoo Censors Union Ad
The workers, members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, had taken out a banner ad on the leading Web portal. The advertising campaign sought to bring a message, via the Internet, from passenger service workers employed by Argenbright Security, a division of US firm AHL, who are attempting to form a union at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.
The distribution of the virtual leaflets began in mid-January, but by early February, they were informed that the advertisements were being dropped because they ran counter to Yahoo's policy in this area. Yahoo! Had already reviewed the banner ad content prior to commencement of the campaign.
"AHL has used illegal threats and intimidation to silence these workers and Yahoo!'s decision to pull the ad is an attempt to silence them once again," says Mike Garcia, SEIU Local 1877 President. "AHL customers who use Yahoo! have the right to know that AHL is a law-breaker."
"While Yahoo! claims to support Internet free-speech, their decision to cancel the ad demonstrates their willingness to use censorship to prevent the public from learning that AHL has been convicted of breaking federal labor laws."
Yahoo!'s decision to censor the ads runs contrary to positions that Yahoo! executives have taken in the past on free-speech issues.
According to Chief Yahoo! Jerry Yang, ``We (Yahoo!) try to be very inclusive of everybody's comments and everybody's opinions even if those opinions are not very favorable."
"To me, the most exciting thing about the Internet is a democratisation. Everyone has a voice. It's the ultimate function of a participatory democracy," says the company's general counsel, John Place.
The company's actions speak louder than their words.
The unionising campaign decided to use this inventive approach since Argenbright Security had sufficiently silenced their employees, using both legal and non- legal measures to keep them from forming a union.
The cancellation came just days after Administrative Law Judge James L. Rose ruled that Argenbright was guilty of committing dozens of violations of federal labour laws against these employees. The violations include 40 suspensions and final warnings stemming from a legal, protected strike by the employees in April, 1999. They also include the disciplining of another union activist and threats, both written and verbal, against the
Respect at LAX is one of the largest joint organizing campaigns in America, bringing together two of the fastest growing unions, the Service Employees International Union and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union
to organize low-wage workers at Los Angeles International Airport.
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