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thomas81
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21 May 2013, 7:47 am

Is there anyone in work who would be interested in starting a union for Autistic Workers?

UK and Ireland only please.


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CSBurks
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21 May 2013, 11:01 am

How do unions work in the UK?

Here in the states, they usually exist within a a particular field or industry or group of related industries. Based on the google search I did, it appears to be similar in the UK.

Not opposed to the idea per se; just that things would have to be worked out.



thomas81
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21 May 2013, 11:51 am

CSBurks wrote:
How do unions work in the UK?

Here in the states, they usually exist within a a particular field or industry or group of related industries. Based on the google search I did, it appears to be similar in the UK.

Not opposed to the idea per se; just that things would have to be worked out.


it is more or less the same, but sometimes there is a crossover. I'm already in the communication workers union which means you have call centre workers and postmen (mailmen) in the same union.

The problem is that i feel that autism specific issues aren't addressed because internal politics and other issues take precedence. Although an autistic union probably wouldnt be able to strike for example (since members would be divided across various industries in likliehood) I still think it would be a important tool to lobby for legislative change and advocacy in a way that charities cannot.


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duncvis
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21 May 2013, 4:21 pm

One stumbling block I see with this is that I suspect a lot of employed auties are still in the closet, as they want to stay employed and avoid being discriminated against. I know I won't be disclosing again if I can help it.

What functions do you feel a union would serve to promote our interests that, say, the NAS cannot?


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thomas81
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21 May 2013, 4:39 pm

duncvis wrote:
One stumbling block I see with this is that I suspect a lot of employed auties are still in the closet, as they want to stay employed and avoid being discriminated against. I know I won't be disclosing again if I can help it.

What functions do you feel a union would serve to promote our interests that, say, the NAS cannot?

The NAS is a fantastic organisation, don't get me wrong, the problem with charities such as them is that they are overstreteched and that their resources go mainly towards support for autistic children and carers of autistic children. Services for autistic adults on the other hand are nigh on non existant.

The NAS even came to my workplace and gave a talk which was great. However it was like a proverbial band aid on the proverbial brain haemorrage that is the problem as it doesnt provide the sort of ongoing, continuous pressure and advocacy that a union would provide.

The adult autistic community is 85% unemployed, and 15% employed. I think when you have such contrasting figures it becomes an equality issue. Whats more the voice of the 15% is never heard from. Of those 15% (including myself) who have secured jobs many are facing challenges due to ignorance in the workplace and lingering issues from childhood which frustrated their true potential. So an even smaller figure than that would be classified as 'happily employed'. Where I feel a union would come into force is challenging workplaces which are creating atmospheres hostile to autistic workers and to advocate a better deal for the 85% unemployed, educating employers about the potential benefits of employing autistic staff in an appropriate capacity but in a way that is informed and not naive of the intracies of industrial dynamics.

The fact that you feel you have to remain a 'closet aspie' only goes to illustrate why such a union is needed.

I think an autistic union could also recruit students, to campaign for a better deal in universities.


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Last edited by thomas81 on 21 May 2013, 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duncvis
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21 May 2013, 4:49 pm

Education for potential employers - yes, I can see a benefit in that. However I don't think a union would the only possible structure for doing that. The universities angle is an interesting one. The catch-22 for me remains though; how do you get enough people to stick their heads above the parapet and 'come out' as being autistic without fearing damage to their own prospects? Self-interest is a very strong driver, as until such a movement reached a tipping point those who speak up risk being driven out or passed over for interviews. Yet without wider acceptance of autistic workers this situation will continue. *Head explodes* :scratch:


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thomas81
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21 May 2013, 4:58 pm

duncvis wrote:
Education for potential employers - yes, I can see a benefit in that. However I don't think a union would the only possible structure for doing that. The universities angle is an interesting one. The catch-22 for me remains though; how do you get enough people to stick their heads above the parapet and 'come out' as being autistic without fearing damage to their own prospects? Self-interest is a very strong driver, as until such a movement reached a tipping point those who speak up risk being driven out or passed over for interviews. Yet without wider acceptance of autistic workers this situation will continue. *Head explodes* :scratch:


I think a union would be able to act in a superior way to charities or general advocacy groups because they take the side of the worker rather than trying to remain impartial for a start, and secondly provide an ongoing point of contact rather than sporadic intervals when its convenient for management.

Also from my experience with the cwu, it offers advice and education for its members. It would be fantastic if there was this sort of service but from a work orientated, autism specific perspective.

I would hope that ASD workers would be able to 'come out' hopefully with the solidarity and support of their neurotypical colleagues. I would like to think that NT's or NT relatives of ASD people would come on as associate members and supporters. Bigotry against the neuro-atypical should not be a cause or an impedence against this. Can you imagine what would happen if there was the same backlash against a gay union or a black peoples union? It wouldnt be tolerated. Theres no reason we should tolerate it either.


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Last edited by thomas81 on 21 May 2013, 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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21 May 2013, 5:02 pm

thomas81 wrote:
Is there anyone in work who would be interested in starting a union for Autistic Workers?

I like the idea - collective bargaining, legal protection, and a fact-based grievance process would be most beneficial.

thomas81 wrote:
UK and Ireland only please.

Oh.

:(



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21 May 2013, 5:05 pm

Fnord wrote:
Oh.

:(


I only say that because its hard for me to organise outside the UK-Irish archipelago.

If you feel up to taking the initiative in your own country, then great. I am not aware of your personal resolve to make this happen. Perhaps we can organise some sort of co-ordinated international network. I have posted this same thread on aspies for freedom and got some positive feedback from a guy in the states.

In an ideal world I would like to be able to meet up with people in my local area, and possibly organise off the back of my established union.


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Arran
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21 May 2013, 11:15 pm

It's easier said than done. It will require people with a strong experience of trade union activism who have plenty of time on their hands. These union activists must have the ability and the required people skills to handle grievance and disciplinary cases at work if the union is to be useful. I actually think that running trade unions is something that only NT people are capable of.

You might want to try Solidarity as it is a union for all trades and occupations. It is a modern union that is open to suggestions from its members, and is not bound by the bureaucracy of the TUC which it is not affiliated to. I am a member and I am trying to establish a circle for scientists, engineers, and IT workers who are not represented by traditional trade unions.



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22 May 2013, 12:38 pm

Arran wrote:
You might want to try Solidarity as it is a union for all trades and occupations. It is a modern union that is open to suggestions from its members, and is not bound by the bureaucracy of the TUC which it is not affiliated to. I am a member and I am trying to establish a circle for scientists, engineers, and IT workers who are not represented by traditional trade unions.


No, I wouldn't. Solidarity is a shifty BNP front union. Its run by a former NF chief. f**k that. Any real trade unionist worth their salt wouldnt go near solidarity with a barge pole.

Unless you agree with the BNP's politics I would recommend you leave Solidarity and join a pro-worker union like the TUC or Unite.

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/arti ... cret-union

Quote:
A SHADOWY trade union run by a former National Front leader is causing strife at Shorts, it has been claimed.

But new members don’t realise they are getting into bed with the BNP.

Solidarity – a right wing union run by Edinburgh based activist Patrick Harrington – is targeting members of other trade unions to get them to jump ship.

Shorts Bombardier is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers with over 6,500 workers and the main union which supports workers there is Unite.

But traditional trade unionists at the aircraft components factory in east Belfast have described the Solidarity supporters as a “BNP cabal”.

Solidarity is the union wing of the British National Party and operates to drum up support for the right wing party although it’s believed they have less than 500 members across the UK.

The Ulster wing of the BNP is currently being run by nasty fascist Stephen Moore, who we revealed last year refers to Muslims as ‘Ragheads’ and Catholics as ‘Taigs’.


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Arran
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22 May 2013, 1:16 pm

I wouldn't hold much trust in what outfits like Hope not Hate say. The real purpose of their existence is not to defend the interests of the working or lower classes but to defend the political establishment from ANY ‘radical’ threat. Last year they opposed a meeting by an Islamic organisation that was eventually cancelled when the owner of the venue decided not to allow it to be held there, so they are not just a straightfoward opponent of the 'far right'.

BNP members in Solidarity are actually a small minority of the total membership and the BNP has a minimal influence in the union which is politically neutral.

I'm not quite sure how you define "real trade unionist" and "pro-worker union". TUC and Unite do not interest me because they are strongly affiliated with the Labour party and they support globalisation.

Personally I couldn't give a stuff what somebody's political affiliation was 20 or 30 years ago. People see the light and change their stance over time. Patrick Harrington was once a member of the Communist Party but does that make him a Communist sympathiser nowadays?

I acknowledge the fact that Solidarity is not to everybody's taste but the individual should have a choice of which organisation they want to join, and select one that offers the services they require and they feel happy and comfortable with.



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22 May 2013, 1:37 pm

Arran wrote:
I wouldn't hold much trust in what outfits like Hope not Hate say. The real purpose of their existence is not to defend the interests of the working or lower classes but to defend the political establishment from ANY ‘radical’ threat.

No, the purpose of their existance is to oppose fascism. Thats a far cry from defending the establishment from 'ANY radical threat'.

Arran wrote:
BNP members in Solidarity are actually a small minority of the total membership and the BNP has a minimal influence in the union which is politically neutral.

If Solidarity was a credible union, there wouldnt be any BNP members. They'd be out so fast their feet wouldnt touch the ground.


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Arran
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22 May 2013, 2:02 pm

thomas81 wrote:
If Solidarity was a credible union, there wouldnt be any BNP members. They'd be out so fast their feet wouldnt touch the ground.


The danger with that argument is that if the BNP was banned then it implies that anybody else could be banned. Are you opposed to the BNP as an institution, or are you opposed to specific policies in the BNP - that if adopted by another organisation then it would result in them also being banned? I am not a BNP supporter. There are swathes of BNP policies I disagree with and I also think their leader is odious and corrupt.



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22 May 2013, 2:34 pm

Arran wrote:

The danger with that argument is that if the BNP was banned then it implies that anybody else could be banned.

Total fallacy. The BNP is an exception in that it advocates blood and soil nationalism and that its manifesto is a near cut n' paste of Adolf Hitler's.

Both its leader and members have a track history of holocaust denial and politically motivated violence.

Until recently it was one of the few parties prohibiting membership on the basis of skin colour. Stop pretending that its a normal party.
Arran wrote:

Are you opposed to the BNP as an institution, or are you opposed to specific policies in the BNP - that if adopted by another organisation then it would result in them also being banned? I am not a BNP supporter. There are swathes of BNP policies I disagree with and I also think their leader is odious and corrupt.


I am opposed to the BNP in principle. I am opposed to both their policies and any of their members being allowed in trade unions or positions of public office.

The BNP has nothing but toxicity to offer workers advocacy, able bodied and disabled alike.


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Arran
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22 May 2013, 3:02 pm

thomas81 wrote:
Both its leader and members have a track history of holocaust denial and politically motivated violence.


I would be careful of that one because the BNP had in excess of 10,000 members and you haven't verified that ALL of them have a track history of holocaust denial and politically motivated violence so it opens the door to a potential libel case.

Quote:
I am opposed to both their policies


The BNP has many policies on a diverse range of issues. Are you opposed to all of them or just some of them? Please clarify this matter.