Wednesday, January 10, 2007

1/10/07: Workers Disrupt MacWorld Convention and Expo, Ask Apple to Tell Noel Lee to Stop Being Such a Monster

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 12:30 pm, over 50 laid-off Monster Cable workers and their supporters marched from Yerba Buena Gardens to various retailers including the Apple Store, CompUSA, Radio Shack and then to the MacWorld Conference and Exposition at Moscone Center. Laid-off workers marched to expose the hypocrisy of Monster Cable CEO Noel Lee’s claims that he can’t afford to treat workers fairly, and call upon Apple Computers, Inc., which sells various Monster Cable Products, to tell Monster Cable “Stop being such a Monster!”

At both Radio Shack and CompUSA, while protesters marched outside and handed out flyers, a small delegation of workers was turned away from the store. Workers planned to deliver a brief message and letter to store managers, but the managers refused even to speak with the three workers who entered the store. At the Apple Store, the entire group entered the store. The manager Tim Cherven agreed to speak with the delegation if the rest of the workers left, and subsequently agreed to relay the message of the workers and appeal for Apple’s support, to the district-level and corporate headquarters.

At MacWorld, workers entered the lobby on Moscone North and refused to leave until a senior-level management from the conference organizers came to speak with them. Security finally forced workers to move just outside the convention hall doors, on the grounds that they were creating a fire hazard. The Public Relations Manager of IDG (the group that produces MacWorld) Charlotte McCormack, informed workers that she contacted Apple but that the Public Relations Manager was off-site. She said that he has been contacted via e-mail and phone about this issue. Because there was nobody else who could to represent the company, Ms. McCormack agreed to relay the message and letter intended for Steve Jobs to the company. Workers continued to protest outside, calling on Apple to support worker justice, and drawing the attention of hundreds of MacWorld convention-goers. A huge red banner was hung briefly from the pedestrian sky-walk across Howard Street. It read, “Apple and MacUsers: Join our Fight Against a Real Monster! Monster Cable Workers Deserve Respect and Justice”.


Eric Mar said...

great blog site. strength to the workers and community!

Gary Shapiro said...

Dear Ms. Liu,

Thank you for your letter asking me to help in your action against Monster Cable and Noel Lee.

I have received and reviewed your documents and while I feel for the
displaced workers, I simply do not agree with the entitlement philosophy contained in your request. I know that losing a job is difficult and disruptive and
painful, but it is sometimes part of the free market system which has
made our economy and country strong.

Mr. Lee is a great American and you are unfairly besmirching his name and reputation. Think of what he did for the people you claim he treated unfairly. He provided a great place to work for many years and income for many immigrants with few skills. Today, to compete effectively he had to change his strategy and shift manufacturing outside the United States. He provided severance pay although under no
obligation to do so.

Now you are taking the position that because Mr. Lee is of Chinese
descent, because he is an immigrant, because he gave employment to immigrants, he must be handcuffed in the marketplace and must incur debt, avoid marketing and change his business model because the voluntary severance in your judgment was too low.

I wish your efforts were spent trying to help these people get jobs elsewhere rather than in this quest to get their hopes up that they should be getting something to which they are not entitled. The American way is one of hard work, risk and reward. Noel Lee took a lot of risks and built a company. The employees did not take risks and they do not own the company. This is not a socialist country, and everyone has their shot at the American dream.

I am appalled that you are taking such a harsh view of a great American immigrant simply because he is successful.

I started out as a factory worker but struggled to go to college and
graduate school. Some of my friends made different choices. Our national value is that both employers and employees make choices and that is why our country succeeds.

I will not help you as I find your campaign disturbing and totally
unfair to a great American.


Gary Shapiro
President and CEO
Consumer Electronics Association