Michael Liu and Lydia Lowe
taken from a Chinese Progressive Association flyer
Power One Workers have won release of funds for retraining. CPA has begun working with laid off workers on winning retraining programs. They organized a picket Aug. 22 in front of the State House for emergency funds for worker retraining.
Power-One International is an electronics manufacturing plant in Allston which employs a predominantly immigrant workforce of Chinese and Latino workers. Power-One will shut down its Allston plant this fall, and has divided its workforce into two groups for layoffs in July and September 2001.
On May 21, over seventy Chinese workers confronted management about unequal severance packages offered the two groups of workers. In response, workers were threatened with termination, arrest, elimination of severance pay, and denial of unemployment insurance.
Workers have been illegally threatened for exercising their right to organize. They have unpaid overtime claims from years' past, some have not received time-and-a-half for overtime worked, and they were not upgraded to the current minimum wage until March 2001. Power-One is another example of US corporations exploiting immigrant workers to squeeze every dime from them.Greater Boston Legal Services has helped workers to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for threatening workers and not respecting their right to organize.The Chinese Progressive Association and the workers have organized a series of pickets since June 5th in front of Power-One's plant in Allston. On June 15, management called in the police and escorted those workers who picketed out of the building!
The settlement that management offered was laid-off workers with five or less years of seniority get only two weeks of severance pay while those with ten or more years get only four weeks of severance pay! In negotiations since the workers have begun picketing, management has made no major additions to their initial offer.
Workers are demanding to meet with the plant manager with translator(s) of their choice and are asking management to increase the severance package and provide three months' continued health insurance coverage.The immigrant workers have been threatened with arrest for demanding a few weeks of severance pay!
Power-One is a global corporation with operations in China, Singapore, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Australia, Slovakia, and other locations in the US. It is the 6th largest power conversion equipment manufacturer in the world. It was listed by Forbes as one of the top 200 companies for its profitability. Power-One will save millions by moving its operations around the globe but leave workers jobless..
The Chinese Progressive Association has called for people to call Power-One at (617) 782-3331, or Senior VP and CFO Ed Schnopp of Corporate Headquarters at (805) 987-8741, or email: investor.relations. CPA wants people to ask that all threats and harassment stop and that the plant manager meet with the workers' committee and a support delegation.