Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tony Popovic: Union Starter

Do you work in a non-union job?  Do you feel like you are given more to do than the amount of money your employer is paying you?  Are you afraid that if you complained, you may not have your job the next day?  I looked for a good friend’s knowledge on the matter.

Tony Popovic has worked as a union organizing for over seven years.  After graduating from California State University at Monterey Bay, he hit the ground running, joining Service Employees International Union.  First, he was a recruiter: he would visit potential union employees, then oferred them information on the benefits of starting a union.  Later, he overlooked cases that involved employee reprimands, where Tony studied the severity of each punishment, and determine whether the unionized employee’s reprimand is legally justified. 
When asked if he has learned to look at employers’ perspectives, “Many times I can see why workers get the discipline they receive. And I acknowledge the right of an employer to institute discipline as a corrective action. In this sense the legal/justice system law analogy is apt. In a democracy every one gets a fair trial and that is called due process. Union workers get due process right even if their case is bad. Think of it this way, in the America. Justice system everyone gets the chance to prove their innocence or mitigate their sentence. Why shouldn't your workplace be the same?”

Tony is often sought for advice from non-union employees.  He believes it is usually because employers usually get away with exploitation because workers usually don’t think that they have the power to organize themselves.  “Without a collective bargaining agreement your employer can do almost anything they want, even break the law. After all who is going to enforce it?”

Here is an excerpt on some advice to those who would want to organize a union:

For the Full Interview:


  1. dude im a member of a union and I dont feel any safer than if i had one. I wish i was a member of teamsters.

  2. The description of the union is good. Although the highlight of the second half of the text somewhat messes around with the continuity of the post.