It’s never a good thing to be a turkey as Thanksgiving nears. But the louts of labor who make up the 2nd annual list of Labor 411 Turkeys are foul (fowl?) all year long. These are the selfish, the greedy, the labor unfriendly, the clueless and the just plain rotten. Where the 2019 Labor 411 Eagles have class, their fowl counterparts are bottom-feeders.
Give a hearty raspberry to the Turkeys of 2019:
1. President Donald Trump: Alright, alright, this was too easy. Donald Trump is our hands down Turkey of the Year. Probably Turkey of the Decade. Coal miners getting laid off, steel mills closing, a costly trade war with China, his ordering of companies to seek trade with countries other than China, his war on immigrants, his threats to federal workers, his general rampaging against unions and his broken promises are just the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention his impeachment and disastrous foreign and domestic policy decisions. Yes, Donald Trump is the turkiest of all turkeys.
2. National Labor Relations Board: Where do we begin with the National Labor Relations Board? This is suppose to be an independent agency tasked with enforcing U.S. Labor laws in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices. Instead, the NLRB in 2019:
- Moved to ban student labor unions at private colleges
- Made it easier for employers to alter contracts without asking unions first
- Ruled against Boeing workers who want a union
- Issued a decision making it easier for employers to oust unions
- Wanted to ban Scabby the Rat
- Said that Uber drivers cannot unionize
You, NLRB, are a turkey, no matter how you spell it.
3. Google: How do you deal with rumbling of worker unrest? If you’re Google, you take the turkey-licious step of hiring the anti-union consulting firm IRI Consultants. This move – and the unrest that it is designed to mitigate – appears to fly in the face of Google’s reputation of being a good employer that provides its workers generous perks like free meals and shuttle buses to the office. Not Google! They’d never do anything so foul! Oh, but they would. You can Google it.
4. Bill Lee: For every sensible, worker-friendly state leader, you’re bound to find a loser a few states over. In our list of good guy Labor 411 Eagles, we told you about Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Well, down in Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee has proven himself to be made of less honorable DNA. Back in June, Lee weighed in on the organizing drive at a Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, saying he hoped the plant would stay non-union. “The reality is that it is more difficult to recruit companies to states that have higher levels of organized [labor] activity,” Lee said. “That is why, I think, it is in the best interest of the workers at Volkswagen — and really for the economics of our state — that Volkswagen stay a merit [non-union] shop.” Back in the 1980s, there was a colorful pitcher for the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox named Bill Lee who had the nickname “Spaceman.” Thanks to his misguided union sentiments, Tennessee’s Governor will henceforth be known as Bill “The Turkey” Lee.
5. General Motors: You know things aren’t good when matters escalate to a point where 49,000 workers at GM plants walk off the job. To GM’s credit, the company eventually struck a deal with the United Auto Workers, ending the historic strike, but there were definite casualties. One of the most notable: during the strike, GM canceled its employees’ health care coverage. Now that’s the move of a turkey!
6. Paul and Maurice Marciano: The hugely wealthy founders of Guess also operate the Marciano Art Foundation museum in Los Angeles. Or at least they used to operated the MAF until the facility’s nearly six dozen visitor services associates announced they planned to form a union. That’s when the employees were notified that they were all being laid off and that the museum would be closing. The move is likely a violation of the National Labor Relations Act and AFSCME plans to fight it. Regardless, firing all of your employees shortly before Thanksgiving gives you some serious turkey cred.
7. Black Friday Creeps: We get the need for retailers and shoppers to go nuts on the day after Thanksgiving, but the retailers like Target, Walmart and too many others who take the holiday away from their workers by staying open on Thanksgiving are epitomes of turkeyhood. The CEOs of these establishments — which we call Black Friday Creeps — don’t deserve a Thanksgiving. We encourage you to stay away on Thanksgiving, and to tell them how foully they are behaving.
8. Alexander Acosta: Once upon a time, we might have hailed Alex Acosta, one of the few sane members of Trump’s cabinet, a near Labor 411 Eagle, especially considering some of the other yo-yos that Trump was considering for Secretary of Labor. Then it came to light that while serving as the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Acosta gave billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges of molesting teenage girls. Acosta resigned in July, leaving us with former corporate lawyer Eugene Scalia as the new SOL. If he keeps up his anti-labor ways, Scalia could very well end up on next year’s turkey list.
9. Dave Portnoy. Say what you want about the fratty media company Barstool Sports, but when – like CEO Dave Portnoy – you get on Twitter and threaten to “fire…on the spot” any of your employees who communicate with someone to talk about unionizing, you deserve blowback. Portnoy got it, and then some. Labor lawyer (and Labor 411 Eagle) David Rosenfeld blew the whistle and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the AFL-CIO both condemned Portnoy’s remarks. The National Labor Relations Board has started an investigation. Whatever may come of this, one thing is certain. Portnoy has earned his Labor 411 turkey wattle.
10. McDonald’s. No, they don’t serve turkeys, they just employ them. Or, in the case of CEO Stephen Easterbrook, they fire them for an improper relationship with a fellow employee and give them nearly $42 in severance. Easterbrook leaves a company that in 2019 saw workers stage protests against low wages and the handling of sexual harassment allegations.