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There's Nothing Feminist About Busting a Union

Illustration for article titled Theres Nothing Feminist About Busting a Union
Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

The leadership at storied feminist institution Feminist Majority Foundation is reportedly refusing to recognize the union its staff formed earlier this month, making it likely that that the workers will have to fight for recognition at the level of the National Labor Relations Board.

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According to the union’s official Twitter account, staff received the news in a Friday email, where management explained that though the nonprofit “is, and has always been, pro-union,” they feel it’s best to push it to an NLRB vote to “ensure that representation is truly desired by Foundation employees.”

Leadership went on to invoke labor rights hero Dolores Huerta, one of the Foundation’s long-time board members, to shore up their bonafides. (Jezebel has reached out to the Feminist Majority Foundation for comment.)

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But they’re not fooling anyone: These are textbook union-busting talking points, particularly for so-called progressive workplaces. When, for example, the sustainability and transparency-loving clothing brand Everlane learned of a union drive gaining momentum among its staff last year, the company’s HR department warned workers that joining a union was a “big decision” not to be taken lightly. Hearst Magazines used the same argument the month before, insisting that while unions might be a good idea for other publishers, it wasn’t a good idea for Hearst.

So, no surprises here. Except that unlike with corporations that use social justice primarily as a savvy marketing strategy, it seems reasonable to expect that the Feminist Majority Foundation—home to feminist bastions like Ms. Magazine—might actually embody its own principles. And as the union pointed out, there’s something especially callous about the organization’s leadership leaving the fate of the union up to the NLRB, a body that has significantly rolled back workers’ rights under the Trump administration.

To be anti-worker is to be anti-feminist, and management at the Feminist Majority Foundation is going to have a hard time convincing anyone otherwise.

“Collective bargaining has always been a guiding principle of FMF’s work and we now ask our leadership to voluntarily recognize our union,” the union wrote in a Sept. 8 statement explaining why they were organizing. “Unions are feminist, and feminism needs unions.”

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at Vice, The Nation, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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DISCUSSION

revlescrowley
Rev Les Crowley

I’m a minister IRL, and come from a long line of same and can share the following observation: non-profits can be cheapest, pettiest employers in the world.  Unless you’re upper, upper management.  Then it’s a really sweet grift.