Jump to content

Follow up to B&H - Workers Unionize


Ed_David
 Share

Recommended Posts

There is a reason for unions.

Sure, some can be corrupt - all groups of people can be corrupt.

Some can be corrupt -- amazingly so:
New York Sheet Metal Workers Case Highlights Persistence of Workplace Discrimination
In this case it seems it was the union, not the employer, who has been found guilty of discrimination. The EEOC has forced the union to begin paying the first installments of $12.7 million in back pay to hundreds of black and Hispanic members

Have you ever tried to work in the photo world without unions?
Yes. I did. For 20 years. Low pay, mediocre benefits, fights over reimbursements for expenses, were much of the reason  I was so eager to pursue a job with B&H when i first came upon their "help Wanted" ad in Photo District News.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love how these posts always become a question of my character.  

If you think I'm pompous and hypocritical and misinformed, and dangerous and blasphemous, and a harm to other impressionable people, that's pretty interesting to me.

I assume everyone is guilty?  Again, no, because I assume one person is not.

There is no middle of a road in any argument, no matter the common saying.  No matter if both parties are wrong.

There is no middle road.

The middle, compromised road allows the people in control to keep controlling all of us.  And allows the people at the bottom to not be able to move forward.  

I know a lot of people started to hate me after I took a stand and supported two women's viewpoints over a popular videographer and test-maker, and that's fine.

I asked for that, honestly.  It wasn't that I supported them, it was how I went about it.

Now the same emotions came up from a user over my comments about "Making A Murderer" and how it reveals how broken our criminal justice system is.  Systemic broken.  Then that user asked me again about the B&H case.  That was reported in the NYTimes and Al Jezera - major news outets.  The ones that broke the story on Amazon and their worker abuses, and nail salons in NYC, and many more investigative journalism.

I should stop.  And I will.  It just wastes so much time.  Besides, I don't know any of you.  And you don't know me.  All I know is that there is rampant corruption in our planet.  All we can do is shed a light on it?

And am I part of this corruption?  Yes I am, and we all are.  But the difference between me and a lot of people, is that I want to talk about it, address it, try to help make the world a more just place.  I do more than just post on message boards :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think anyone is questioning your character. Well, I can only speak for myself, but I believe your motives are just. But I also believe when we have such a huge desire to do the right thing, it can be very easy to find the wrong in everything. As outsiders, the only facts we have is that every entity... Be it union, political, corporate, media, etc..., has an agenda and a bottom line. You're right, I don't know you and I apologize if I, personally, questioned your integrity, but when all else is said and done, I appreciate your craft and have learned a lot from you. So, thank you and keep fighting the good fight. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrators

 

Next up you guys are going to defend the horrible working conditions on Reverent because in the end, it made a great film!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/how-leonardo-dicaprios-revenant-shoot-810290

You guessed it, I am :)

It's exactly as Inarritu says in the article (great read by the way) - if they had not toughed it out in nature but instead sat around green screens and CGI workstations all having a merry time with cups of coffee it wouldn't have had the same authenticity.

Suffering for an art is very noble. I think we should all do it.

It's not as if Inarritu ran an irresponsible set. Many precautions taken for safety. But what they were trying to achieve was difficult, especially since Lubezki wanted to go all out Mallick with his pursuit of real light. Again that word - authenticity.

Obviously with something this difficult the last thing you need is a bunch of moaners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And lastly, I wonder, why is employees unionizing ever a bad thing?  Except to the corporation?

 

I worked for a union company.  I can give you a whole list of reasons why it is a bad thing.  The biggest is you can't fire people who don't work.  The union will protect them every time.

Why is a corporate monopoly bad?  Unions are nothing more than labor monopolies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love how these posts always become a question of my character.  

If you think I'm pompous and hypocritical and misinformed, and dangerous and blasphemous, and a harm to other impressionable people, that's pretty interesting to me.

I assume everyone is guilty?  Again, no, because I assume one person is not.

There is no middle of a road in any argument, no matter the common saying.  No matter if both parties are wrong.

There is no middle road.

The middle, compromised road allows the people in control to keep controlling all of us.  And allows the people at the bottom to not be able to move forward.  

I know a lot of people started to hate me after I took a stand and supported two women's viewpoints over a popular videographer and test-maker, and that's fine.

I asked for that, honestly.  It wasn't that I supported them, it was how I went about it.

Now the same emotions came up from a user over my comments about "Making A Murderer" and how it reveals how broken our criminal justice system is.  Systemic broken.  Then that user asked me again about the B&H case.  That was reported in the NYTimes and Al Jezera - major news outets.  The ones that broke the story on Amazon and their worker abuses, and nail salons in NYC, and many more investigative journalism.

I should stop.  And I will.  It just wastes so much time.  Besides, I don't know any of you.  And you don't know me.  All I know is that there is rampant corruption in our planet.  All we can do is shed a light on it?

And am I part of this corruption?  Yes I am, and we all are.  But the difference between me and a lot of people, is that I want to talk about it, address it, try to help make the world a more just place.  I do more than just post on message boards :)

I believe your heart is in the right place and you are trying to do the right thing, I also don't think anyone is faulting you for that or for bringing light to these things as well. It is the absolute assigment of guilt that most have an issue with. There is nothing wrong with bringing light to these issues and expressing your oppinions but taking such as strong stand on one side without really knowing all the facts is what rubs people the wrong way. 

admittedly I have not spend a whole lot of time looking into the B&H matter but what I see is a big he said she said situation all over again. Sure this time there are a few more shes but I have yet to see anyone supplying any proof of there claims on either side. Nothing from the workings showing signs of aspestos exposure, no photos of dust or workers with nose bleeds, etc... and from B&H I have seen nothing backing up their claims that they had passed numerous random inspections by OSHA. Maybe that infromation is all private and just not public but it is impossible to draw a truely informed oppinion with out this type of information and that is the whole issue people are taking with your posts. Honestly, I am of the opinion that both sides are exaggerating in their own interests. Could the working environment been bad yes, but I have a hard time believing it is as bad as has been reported. Can you imagine the lawsuit they could face from shipping products laced with aspestos to customers all around the world?

As an example here is a link to a wikipedia page for Richard Jewell. He was as security guard who alerted police about a suspicious backpack left in a crowd of people at the Atlanta olympic games. He saved many lives that day be clearing people away before it blew. In the media frenzy aftwards whe was labeled as a suspect and his life was completely destroyed by false accusations and assumptions of guilt. He was later vindicated but the damage had already been done. He did the right thing and his life was destroyed for it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Jewell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Imo,

Ed talks about the issue. Others talk about Ed. Pretty pontless to argue with those premises.

 

No one talked about Ed. The way it worked is that Ed talked about "issues" as he saw them. Others disagreed with his point of view on the "issues". Ed took the disagreement as a personal attack.

If you are not prepared for other people to have opposing views, then don't present your view in the first place. Because it is going to happen, and it shouldn't be taken personally. Pretty common sense I would think.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks for this.

Now the department of labor is involved.

B and h wanted to do a settlement admitting guilt.

And henry is acknowledged in the article.

Hmmmmm. Maybe the hispanic workers arent lying?

Especially now thay the department of labor is involved?

Or maybe the department of labor and the unions sre working together and are corrupt as henry may say?

But b and h wanted to settle. Does that acknowledge a wrongdoing?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Ed David said:

But b and h wanted to settle. Does that acknowledge a wrongdoing?

No. They could just be looking for a way out of a mess that has no upside for them to spend on winning. Consider this, you have a successful company, of any sort. You are relatively well known. You are a white male. Your workers (or their lawyers) decide they want more. So they make claims, of racism or sexism or whatever. Think that will make the news? Yup. So what do you do? Personally I'd fight it, but that's easy for me to say. It is way more cost effective to settle. 

Btw, I'm not saying no wrong doing has happened, I'm saying we can't cast an early verdict until the accused has had a fair trial. And for you and I that may never happen unless we make it our business to dig deep and thoroughly. 

Healthy discussion about facts and data is always good though, and for what it's worth, I feel this last bit of discussion has been healthy. I'd love to see us stick to facts and data, and keep our opinions to cameras and lenses and movies, but that's just like, uh, my opinion man. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ed - re. the question of your character thing, I don't think anyone questions your character at all, you come across as a motivated force for good in the world, an all too rare person in this world, and while I believe humanity is fundamentally comprised of good people, we have built a society which rewards selfishness and punishes altruism, which is why I personally admire you greatly.

However, I discussed on this board the Philip Bloom thing last year with you and while I don't and would never queston your character, the thing you did to me and others from what I have observed is that you tend to present your opinion as fact, whilst not only telling others that their opinion is wrong, you go so far as to judge people for their opinion and further, devalue their existance as a human being because they don't agree with you on a subjective matter. That's what it felt like you did to me, telling me I was an unpleasent human being for not judging a man when I had no evidence one way or the other - paraphrased. You refused to accept that it was valid to not be be obnoxious to a man who had been accused of something - where would Craig Charles be now if all of humanity had taken the girls side with no evidence? Serving a prison sentance for a crime he did not comitt, that is where. Remember the irony that only weeks earlier, I had a blazing row with Philip Bloom himself on this board over the Clarkson punch, with me refusing to judge JC on the basis of an accusation alone so I was hardly a PB fan either

It's not a threat to your belief if people express a disagreement to it, one day, you will understand that, and hopefully, produce yet another excellent film about it :)

Anyway, onto the actual subject of this post - I think it's great that the workers have a union myself, I'm a European and I come from a culture where workers have strong rights that are gradually being eroded. In the US, it seems, from an outsiders perspective that workers have very weak rights yet are battling away step by step to improve their rights. That is a drastic oversimplification I know, but if there's one thing I've learnt from many years of involvement with the unions, yes, they can be corrupt, yes they can protect the guilty - but because society is a conglomerate of complex individuals, even the guilty deserve representation, just in case, they are not actually guilty.

Someone mentioned the idea that a union can protect a lazy person drawing a pay packet while doing nothing, well, I do not deny the existance of those people, freeloaders exist at all levels in society, including the guy who accused the worker of being lazy, the manager who needed a scapegoat, the complex individual capable of falsifying reports, lying etc. That is why that worker deserves representation, yes it does introduce beaurocracy which can delay the removal of that freeloader from the company, but in exchange, it protects the vulnerable from corruption - from freeloaders further up the food chain. It's a balancing act, of course - I've seen a nurse who was caught red handed stealing from patients, who stayed on the payroll for a year after thanks to a clever union rep, but at the same time, I've had to visit a good friend in hospital after a manager let his tyres down in the staff carpark because my friend comforted his ex after they broke up. The unions eventually had that man fired and got him the compensation he was due, although he had to wait 5 years before he got it. We are closing in on a better balance, and while cherrypicked individual cases can smack of unfairness and inefficiency, on a society level across Western/Northern Europe - US and Canada, we're leading the world in that balance and can be rightly proud of companies like bh being made to tow the line and stopping them from bucking the trend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We appreciate your concern and your loyalty, and want to take this time to help you understand what has been happening recently. At B&H we value each and every customer; your concern is our concern. We know you have choices when shopping and your choice of our establishment is something we do not and must not  take lightly.  We want to continue earning your business and instilling pride in your choice for photo and electronics.

B&H is a family owned business, a success that has been built for over 40 years from a small storefront in New York City to the worldwide enterprise we are today.  This is credit to our dedicated and devoted employees, many of whom have been with our company for decades.

Every one of our employees is treated with respect and dignity, no matter of race, religion or gender.  The average employee tenure at B&H far exceeds most of our competitors and as well as most employers of any kind.  Our employees are well compensated, offered generous benefits, and they are given 17 paid days off in addition to 3 weeks paid vacation. Few companies offer this.

The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility.  For the time being, we will address several of the accusations, as they are far from factual. We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true.  Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.

There are always areas where we can better ourselves, and these are issues that B&H is committed to strengthening as we move forward.  Our goal is to create an even friendlier environment for our employees, where there can be no doubt that their needs, concerns, and well being are noticeably our primary focus.  Our roots are from a place where discrimination affected so many of the very people who are now part of the B&H family, and we built this company and brand to defy what were the norms around us, and to give everyone the chance to succeed, to care for their families and homes, and to be happy.  That will not change, but will only be improved upon.

What you may not be told in these scurrilous narratives is that B&H chose to keep its jobs in New York, rather than opting, as many others do, to outsource jobs to areas overseas where labor rates are lower.  Our call centers and online management teams are right here. We chose a very different route, and we continue to make daily decisions taking into account first and foremost our dedicated employees and customers and we will continue to do so.

Over the next few weeks and months, you will hear more and see the growth, and we will make sure our customer and our employee are kept keenly aware of the situation.  Please feel free to reach to us with any of your concerns and we hope we can continue to earn your business in the future.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I respect you keep your call centers in the us but i do not think this negates charges set forward by the us department of labor that b and h attempted to settle as referenced in the article.

I do hope b and h does reform. Especially since this is the 2nd time in 12 years.

Curious if adorama has these issues?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to comment on personal injury and statutory violations here, but I have picked up a few things from B&H after talking with their chat helpline guys, and despite not living in the United States, I have been more than happy with their services and the information that they have provided.

On that count I would be disappointed if B&H were to shut down. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"For two successive leaders they have elected completely unelectable people who they think can look after the interests of the unions, even though they're completely out of touch with the voters and have no chance of putting the party into government. I think union leaders have a lot to answer for."

Are you getting into politics now Andrew ?  The members of the Labour Party appoint their Leader not members of the public. If anybody wants a say in who leads the Labour Party maybe they should join up and cast a vote. Many union leaders do have a lot to answer for, they sit on their arses and don't do enough for their members. In my opinion they are no different than most elected politicians once they get voted in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...