Well, it’s not really a surprise. When you gradually decrease your employees salary and worsen their working conditions, you’ll get what you deserve. And last Friday, the employees of Manhattan’s Guitar Center store responded to what was done to them. In an overwhelming vote they agreed to form a union to protect their rights.
The part that I don’t really understand – even though, it’s not really a surprise either – why does a company that’s doing well even start such nonsense? But wait….oh, there you go: Guitar Center is owned by Bain Capital. That’s the answer. It is simple and equally despicable, but ultimately it all comes down to one thing: corporate greed.
Yes, it’s true that from an overall perspective, Guitar Center just like most other companies, suffered from a decline in sales. Yet, as a retail chain with over $2.1 Billion I have a hard time believing that the guys in “the management” also had to suffer from pay cuts. As always, it’s the guys on the frontline who take the big hits.
According to Brandon Clark, an employee and supporter of the union idea, he’s making significantly less than he used to. At times, his hourly wages is $11. That may (strong emphasis on the work “may” here!) be enough in some parts of our nation, but for NYC standards, this is simply not enough to survive. I know what I’m talking about, because I live in the greater New York area.
Personally, per se I’m neither pro nor contra unions. It’s all situational. But in this case, the Guitar Center employees who now will become organized to strengthen their voice have my full support. I just hope it doesn’t backfire – as we know, that is always a possibility. Anyway, more Guitar Center stores are having votes soon and it’s safe to assume that they will follow their Manhattan colleagues.