Today is one of those days that has stress I cannot avoid. I have a Step 2 grievance meeting with a union this afternoon. It is a dumb grievance, and one we could work out if the key workers were not totally childish and actually understood the contract. The union’s support in the unit is tenuous, and the union business agent wants to show them what a tough guy he is. All in all, it is a bad recipe.

My client is part of the problem. They want to think of their employees as a family even when the employees are taking advantage of them. They lack resolve, which is a problem in a labor dispute. That, plus their limited financial resources, prevent me from causing strategic confrontations that we can win and gain control. Instead, they are creating messy situations like the present one, which is bound to end in an unsatisfying way for all involved, and we will gain little in the process. There is some opportunity here, but we are unlikely to exploit it to our advantage.

I have to do this myself because there are very few labor relations lawyers left, and very little traditonal labor work around. Private sector unions are weak and not aggressive in organizing, even here, and in agriculture, there is little to no organizing at all. When I came up, I got trained on a steady diet of organizing campaigns, unfair labor practices, and collective bargaining. Now, it is hard to train people on this stuff.

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Toby does not care. He wants breakfast, and is tired of waiting.