Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Labor group seeks best stories of worst bosses
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. labor movement is asking workers to move their complaints about their bosses from the water cooler to the Web.
Working America, the AFL-CIO union federation's affiliate for nonunion workers, invited workers throughout the country on Monday to share their best stories about their worst bosses in its "My Bad Boss Contest."
Top prize is a one-week vacation.
"It's an opportunity for people to get this off their chests and to see what's happening out there and to shine a spotlight on this," said Working America Executive Director Karen Nussbaum.
It's also an opportunity for the worker advocacy group, which has more than 1 million members, to pick up new members, since contestants must go to www.workingamerica.org to enter.
Standing by to weigh in with on-line comments about the worst-boss stories are author Barbara Ehrenreich, who chronicled the plight of the working poor in "Nickel and Dimed," comedian tuned liberal talk show host Al Franken and liberal commentator Jim Hightower.
Voting for the best worst-boss stories will be done by Web readers over the next six weeks. Each week's top vote-getter will be eligible to compete for the grand prize, a seven-night vacation getaway and $1000 for a round trip air fare, to be announced by August 16
Leading vote-getters as of Monday were:
-- "Russ," whose table-thumping boss at a small Maryland company nixed bonuses, cut overtime and ordered managers to "instill fear" in workers to boost productivity, all because a competing company's owner had a more expensive car, and
-- "Graphics Girl," who left her Pennsylvania media company, and was publicly berated for doing so, after 10 years, including the last five where she worked 50 to 80 hours a week without overtime pay and often without seeing her children. "I missed birthdays and health and years of seasons changing since my office was in a basement with no windows, all for nothing," she wrote.
"It's important to legitimize for people that when you're treated unfairly on the job, that it's not necessarily something you have to swallow," commented Nussbaum.
And then there was "Nobody" from California who warned others by his own example of the perils of entering the contest from a workplace computer. "The fact that my entire Internet connection is monitored by my employer prohibits me from making a contribution," he wrote.