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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Good for them: Two articles in Rolling Stone, one about New York, and one about Chicago:

Employees at Guitar Center's flagship store in Manhattan overwhelmingly voted on Friday to form a union of its 57 retail workers. The new bargaining unit will press the company for improved working conditions and a reversal of declining wages at the 14th Street store. The national Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) orchestrated Friday's win, which marks the first in a series of anticipated union votes at the company's stores around New York City and potentially the rest of the country. To preempt further votes to certify, Guitar Center's management has launched a messaging campaign to educate its employees at nonunion stores about the supposed pitfalls of labor organizing.

"We always want to have a working environment that our folks love, and it's unfortunate that we now have a third party involved," says Dennis Haffeman, executive vice president of human resources for Guitar Center, a $2.1 billion retail chain owned by Bain Capital. "We're constantly listening to our employees' needs so that Guitar Center can be the best work environment in the music industry and, quite frankly, the best in retail."

RWDSU began focusing on Guitar Center in late 2012 after workers approached the national union complaining of worsening compensation, which they said came mainly in the form of falling sales commissions. "I'm earning significantly less than I used to," says Brendon Clark, 28, a pro-union sales associate at the 14th Street store. After four years with the company, Clark makes roughly $11 an hour. "During bad months, I've had to sell my instruments and max out credit cards to make rent."

In the weeks before Friday's vote, RWDSU enlisted a slate of left-wing rockers to publicly support the union. Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Ted Leo and Kathleen Hanna are among the musicians that signed onto the union's moveon.org petition.


No, Mr. Bain Capital, people don't love the working environment, not if they vote overwhelmingly to unionize in the face of nasty anti-union campaigns.

One of the articles does mention that Guitar Center isn't make a profit.

But this gets me, in the Chicago article:

Guitar Center says it is examining the "fade" system in its in-depth analysis of employee compensation. "Our intentions," Haffeman says, "have always been clear to demonstrate to every GC associate in the country that we're listening to their concerns and their ideas, and we're not afraid to take bold action on it as well. "

In other words, they are probably going to give everyone a raise across the country to keep the union from more wins. If so, they'll have the union to thank for it. Gee, if they just all unionize, think of how they'd get even more.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:29 pm 
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It will be interesting to see what happens to the company. I would say in about a year we will know whethe they prospered or whithered.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:35 pm 
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It will be interesting to see what happens to the company. I would say in about a year we will know whethe they prospered or whithered.

They are losing money now. The union will have nothing to do with that.

It would probably help, though. Obviously they pay so little that they lose experienced, qualified salespeople. They have a workforce that is NOT happy to be working there, so they aren't doing the best job possible.

This is what I don't understand about the conservative mindset. Good employees are worth their weight in gold. A bad employee will ensure you lose customers. Good employees not only keep customers coming back, they make sure customers spend a lot of money. They SELL.

Pay good employees well, and you will more than make up for the increased costs in increased sales.

It should be easy to see from someone that is as good in math as you are, glen.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:40 pm 
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I agree completely about paying good employees. To often Union contacts make it tough to get rid of bad employees.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:47 pm 
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I agree completely about paying good employees. To often Union contacts make it tough to get rid of bad employees.

No, they don't. It's pretty easy. You simply treat everyone equally, use progressive discipline, and document the problems, and any firing will hold up in an arbitration.

Companies screw up in two ways; first, management is lazy, and instead of doing the work required, they blame the union. "They won't let me fire them."

Second, they treat people unequally. For instance, the boss has his nephew working there. The nephew misses work all the time, but gets away with it because he's the boss's nephew. Well, then the boss fires someone else for missing work, but they don't miss as much as the nephew.

The company loses that one in arbitration.

I had a manager that told me if he had bad employees, it was his fault. His job was to motivate and empower his employees. If they weren't good employees, it was his job to find ways to make them good employees.

And if you'll look at ANY management training, he was exactly right.

A company that fails often fails because of poor and uncaring management. Think about it, glen, if the management at your last employer had been better, YOU would still be there, wouldn't you?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:54 pm 
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No, they don't. It's pretty easy. You simply treat everyone equally, use progressive discipline, and document the problems, and any firing will hold up in an arbitration.

Companies screw up in two ways; first, management is lazy, and instead of doing the work required, they blame the union. "They won't let me fire them."

Second, they treat people unequally. For instance, the boss has his nephew working there. The nephew misses work all the time, but gets away with it because he's the boss's nephew. Well, then the boss fires someone else for missing work, but they don't miss as much as the nephew.

The company loses that one in arbitration.

I had a manager that told me if he had bad employees, it was his fault. His job was to motivate and empower his employees. If they weren't good employees, it was his job to find ways to make them good employees.

And if you'll look at ANY management training, he was exactly right.

A company that fails often fails because of poor and uncaring management. Think about it, glen, if the management at your last employer had been better, YOU would still be there, wouldn't you?


My last employer had corporate policies that I didnt agree with. As for your post I agree with most everything you said and have worked at the owners nephew company before. However it would be refreshing if the union would tell the bad employeee to straighten up as opposed to defending him as stongly as they would a good employee who messed up.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:04 pm 
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My last employer had corporate policies that I didnt agree with. As for your post I agree with most everything you said and have worked at the owners nephew company before. However it would be refreshing if the union would tell the bad employeee to straighten up as opposed to defending him as stongly as they would a good employee who messed up.

I can tell you've never worked in a union shop. I have. We DO often tell folks they need to straighten up or they're going to lose their job. I've done so myself.

But our job is to represent them, not to be their boss. You see, that's where you guys have it wrong again. The union reps work FOR the employees, they aren't their boss. Motivation and discipline is the job of the management. You don't have to hold the threat of firing over people's heads to motive them.

We must defend the bad employees, to keep the contract strong. If we don't like the employee being fired, but they are being fired wrongly, we must defend them, or our lack of defense will be used as a precedent. You have to do your job, whether you like the person or not, or whether they are guilty or not.

Once again, if Guitar Center unionizes, it won't hurt the company, and could help it, as the employees then will have a voice on the job, and can tell the company how it is screwing up.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:11 pm 
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I'll let you guys know how it works out.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:12 pm 
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I'll let you guys know how it works out.

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I'm sure you can sell out to management and speak out against unionization for a payoff or promotion.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:14 pm 
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gounion wrote:
I'm sure you can sell out to management and speak out against unionization for a payoff or promotion.


I was told a union rep would be contacting me. There is no payoff or promotion involved.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:24 pm 
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I was told a union rep would be contacting me. There is no payoff or promotion involved.

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Of course, not from the union.

One thing about selling out to management - when it's all said and done, if they defeat the unionization, they fire those who sell out, because if you'll sell out your fellow workers, they know you'll sell them out, too, and can't be trusted.

Seen it happen time and time again.

Another interesting article about the organizing effort. And, the RWDSU website. Looks like RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) is part of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers).

A union contract would be the best thing that happened to Guitar Center. Retail workers need better pay and benefits. It would also help the community as a whole, as the workers spend their increased income.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:33 pm 
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gounion wrote:
Of course, not from the union.

One thing about selling out to management - when it's all said and done, if they defeat the unionization, they fire those who sell out, because if you'll sell out your fellow workers, they know you'll sell them out, too, and can't be trusted.

Seen it happen time and time again.

[url="http://laborpress.org/sectors/union-retail/2248-axe-to-grind-more-guitar-center-workers-in-tune-with-rwdsu"]Another interesting article about the organizing effort[/url]. And, the [url="http://rwdsu.info/"]RWDSU website[/url]. Looks like RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) is part of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers).

A union contract would be the best thing that happened to Guitar Center. Retail workers need better pay and benefits. It would also help the community as a whole, as the workers spend their increased income.


I have zero complaints about GC. I make enough money, they are very flexible with my schedule and as a matter of fact, I can go on tour with my band for a year and still have a job. I can also go anywhere in the country to become a store manager if I so choose. Why would I want a union?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:36 pm 
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Text of the MoveOn.org petition:

To be delivered to: Michael Pratt, Guitar Center CEO and Jordan Hitch, Matthew Levin, and Lew Kessel, Bain Capital Managing Directors & Vice Presidents at Guitar Center Holdings

Petition Statement
We work at Guitar Center stores throughout New York City, and we love music and our jobs. But since Bain Capital bought the company, our commissions have been cut, and many of us barely make more than minimum wage or receive paid sick days or vacations. That's why we've united for better conditions, and we need your help.


Petition Background

We are the workers of Guitar Center in Chicago and we need your help. It’s getting harder and harder to survive while working here, so we’ve asked the company to sit down with us and talk about improving things.

We took action after our coworkers at the Guitar Center in Manhattan got organized and successfully won a union at their workplace, and we’ve decided to join them.

As you can probably guess, we’re also musicians and artists. We are passionate about music and we do our best to make sure our customers get the right instruments and equipment to reach their full potential. We love our jobs and we love being around music all day.

The problems started when the company was bought by Bain Capital. Now, non-sales workers barely get more than minimum wage and rarely get raises, all while being asked to do more and more work. Guitar Center doesn't offer part time workers health benefits and we almost never receive paid sick days or vacation time.

Sales workers used to have decent conditions but now commissions have been lowered. We don’t get paid sick days and can make as little as minimum wage. We have ever increasing mandatory sales requirements but we are being forced to do more non-sales work that makes it harder to reach those requirements.

So we decided to come together. We're organizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and we are asking the company to recognize our union and negotiate for a fair contract. With Bain Capital’s track record, we need your support. Let Bain Capital know you support our right to come together for a fair workplace.

In Manhattan, Guitar Center hired the notorious anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis to try to stop workers from winning a union, and the workers were subjected to daily, mandatory anti-union meetings, one-on-one appeals from the managers and constant misinformation from the company.

The industry has already spoken. A growing list of artists (see below) support our right to unite for change at our workplace. Tom Morello said, “I support the Guitar Center workers in their effort to unite for better working conditions. Won’t you join me?”

Stand with us and tell Bain Capital and Guitar Center that you support our right to come together for a fair workplace.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:39 pm 
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I have zero complaints about GC. I make enough money, they are very flexible with my schedule and as a matter of fact, I can go on tour with my band for a year and still have a job. I can also go anywhere in the country to become a store manager if I so choose. Why would I want a union?

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Oh, you can become a store manager and leave for a year? Doubt it.

I'm sure you'll side with management. Again, you might even get a payoff out of it.

But hopefully your fellow workers will see things differently. I hope, if they get a contract and you then get more money, you will refuse the raise out of principle.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Okay, that never happens.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:45 pm 
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gounion wrote:
Oh, you can become a store manager and leave for a year? Doubt it.

I'm sure you'll side with management. Again, you might even get a payoff out of it.

But hopefully your fellow workers will see things differently. I hope, if they get a contract and you then get more money, you will refuse the raise out of principle.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Okay, that never happens.


We have had 3 guys get promoted to management positions so far this year.

It's called "gig leave" and it's been a policy for decades.

Sorry Gou the picture you paint about GC is way off.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:00 pm 
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We have had 3 guys get promoted to management positions so far this year.

It's called "gig leave" and it's been a policy for decades.

Sorry Gou the picture you paint about GC is way off.

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If it's way off, they wouldn't be voting to unionize by overwhelming margins, now, would they?

It's obvious there are problems.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:39 pm 
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gounion wrote:
If it's way off, they wouldn't be voting to unionize by overwhelming margins, now, would they?

It's obvious there are problems.


Different people have different wants. Some people feel like they are entitled to more money. My opinion is if you want more money, sell more gear. In my store a union is not needed or wanted.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:46 pm 
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www.youtube.com Video from : www.youtube.com


Awesome! Rock for rights! :clap:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:06 pm 
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Different people have different wants. Some people feel like they are entitled to more money. My opinion is if you want more money, sell more gear. In my store a union is not needed or wanted.

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You can speak only for yourself. And the other GC folks seem to think there's a serious problem. It's pretty funny how you just deny everything. Of course, you weren't around before Bain Capital bought them, so you wouldn't know.

Corporations like folks like you. If they told you they were cutting your wages in half, you'd thank them.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:39 pm 
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Even though he's an assistant manager, Hampson makes the legal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus commission. But he doesn't actually see that commission until he's sold a certain amount of product against his base pay -- a process known internally as "fading" against the minimum wage.


$25,000 a year. How can anyone live on $25,000 a year in New York? How can anyone live on $25,000 in bum fuck Iowa?

Quote:
Bain Capital bought Guitar Center in October 2007 for $2.1 billion, including debt, with Goldman Sachs serving as an adviser on the purchase. The retailer's parent company, Guitar Center Holdings, is now carrying a heavy debt load of $1.6 billion, according to filings. "We are highly leveraged," the company noted in its most recent annual report. Moody's downgraded the company's credit in 2010.


Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs, all the usual suspects.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/2 ... 54828.html


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:58 pm 
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You can speak only for yourself.

Correct. You, can't speak for all of GC. You think all of GC would benefit from a union. This is not true. Some areas don't need a union.
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And the other GC folks seem to think there's a serious problem. It's pretty funny how you just deny everything. Of course, you weren't around before Bain Capital bought them, so you wouldn't know.

Guitar Center has 248 stores. 2 of them now have a union. Guitar Center has survived since the 50's without a union.

So, my store won't go union, in my opinion. I'll keep you posted as to how we do.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:33 pm 
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$25,000 a year. How can anyone live on $25,000 a year in New York? How can anyone live on $25,000 in bum fuck Iowa?



Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs, all the usual suspects.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/2 ... 54828.html


That is the way car sales used to be. I suspect they are that way because if you don't at least guarantee minimum wage you would be in violation of wage laws. In car sales min wage vs comm makes sense because is you can't sell enough cars to cover $7.25 an hour you are in the wrong business.
Knowing nothing about guitar sales I have no idea what their wages should be. I would however suspect that an hourly wage plus commission would be fair.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Correct. You, can't speak for all of GC. You think all of GC would benefit from a union. This is not true. Some areas don't need a union.

I'm sure all workers at GC would benefit if the stores were all unionized. It's simple - unions mean more pay and better benefits. It also gives the workers a voice on the job without fear of retaliation. Then the company can get honest feedback from it's employees.
Quote:
Guitar Center has 248 stores. 2 of them now have a union. Guitar Center has survived since the 50's without a union.

So, my store won't go union, in my opinion. I'll keep you posted as to how we do.

Looks like one wasn't needed until Bain Capital took over, and they tried to destroy the company. As always, they bought GC with other people's money, so now the company has tons of debt that they didn't have anything to do with, but they have to pay it off - Bain won't pay for anything.

Two elections, two overwhelming votes for union. That's pretty stunning.

Seems to me that every store should have an election, and let the chips fall where they may.

But it won't happen - Bain will fight this tooth and nail, and probably are going to give everyone a big raise so they won't vote union.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:56 pm 
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That is the way car sales used to be. I suspect they are that way because if you don't at least guarantee minimum wage you would be in violation of wage laws. In car sales min wage vs comm makes sense because is you can't sell enough cars to cover $7.25 an hour you are in the wrong business.
Knowing nothing about guitar sales I have no idea what their wages should be. I would however suspect that an hourly wage plus commission would be fair.

What's interesting is that the workers say that Bain makes them work a bunch of hours in non-sales duty, probably stocking and cleaning. While doing that, they aren't on the floor and can't sell.

They have a damned good case for getting a union.


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