Wednesday, January 10, 2007

12/22/06: "Monsterous" Christmas Carols at factory holiday party

On Friday, Dec. 22, at 2:00 pm, over 100 laid-off Monster Cable workers and their community supporters gathered outside of the Monster Cable factory during their Annual Holiday Party to deliver a giant Christmas card and sing “Monsterous” Christmas carols created by workers and supporters to call on CEO Noel Lee’s “holiday spirit” to fairly resolve the concerns of laid-off workers and address their long term issues of unemployment.

“After CEO Noel Lee refused to meet with workers about their concerns, last weekend workers took there issues to major retailers such as Home Depot, Radio Shack, Circuit City, Cambridge SoundWorks and Guitar City and received support from local store managers,” said Shaw San Liu, Chinese Progressive Association organizer. “But still, hundreds of workers are left with no Christmas this year.”

A small delegation of workers went to deliver the giant card to CEO Noel Lee, but were asked for their party tickets at the door by company lawyer Dave Tognotti. Having been laid off and no not invited to the party, they of course had none. Subsequently Tognotti asked workers to leave, not allowing them to deliver the card, and told them he would notify Mr. Lee. After nearly an hour of waiting, workers finally asked a police officer to go inside the party and get a company representative (Sue Sami, HR Manager) to come out and receive Mr. Lee's card. Workers marched just outside the party, chanted and sang Monsterous Christmas carols despite the cold and wind. Workers were joined by supporters from various community groups, including the SF Day Laborer Program, Young Workers United, POWER, and others.


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

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