If you have ever responded to an Action Alert on the TC Workers’ Center site or other sites, you know that there is usually a form letter attached that you can sign and send. You are also given the option to personalize your letter.
Most of the time, I scan the suggested letter, perhaps adding a short paragraph at the beginning or end. But our member Eric Byrd, also one of the WC’s Community Union organizers, took the time to write the following letter to the Regis Corporation, the mega company that owns CostCutters and other chain hair salons. I’m sure you’ll be inspired by Eric’s example of truly personalizing his fax:
I realize you’ve already received hundreds of these, but I want to cast the issue a little differently than the form letter laid it out. The form letter starts out:
“On January 6th, Amber Little, a hair stylist for 3 1/2 years at Cost Cutters in Ithaca, NY, was terminated from her position as a result of not being able to meet the unrealistic Cost Cutters/Regis Corporation policy that requires stylists to sell hair care products equaling 15% of their hair cutting revenue.”
This much I agree with. The policy is unrealistic. I do not agree, however, that the policy is “unfair,” at least not technically: as a corporation, you do have the right to impose performance standards. The problem isn’t that the standard you imposed on Ms. Little was “unfair.” The problem is that the policy is unrealistic, and the timing of its imposition on Ms. Little was very bad, because it caused her to lose her eligibility for her Habitat for Humanity house. I’m not angry because you have the right to impose performance standards. I’m angry because the policy you imposed is stupid and unrealistic, and it resulted in Amber losing her eligibility for her house.
I’ll tell you what actions I’m going to take about this. I’m going to go out of my way, now that I know where Amber is working, to take my haircutting needs to her in her new location, and I will never again go to any Regis-owned hairstyle place, especially now that I have become aware that you force your haircutters to “pimp out” your hair-care products. If I want hair-care products, I will ask: which means if I haven’t asked, I don’t want them. If I come into Regis, and I see all your products displayed and decide I really need some of them, then you have a sale. But if your haircutters harass me, on pain of losing their job due to your stupid and unrealistic policy, I’m just going to go somewhere else where I can get exactly what I ask for, without all the other sales pressure. This is why your policy is stupid and unrealistic: the result of your imposing it is that you will lose customers like myself.
The rest of the form letter reads as follows:
“I believe that Amber should be hired back to her Ithaca Cost Cutters job.”
This, I disagree with. Now that Amber’s former customers (who went to her because they like her skills, not because they give a snowball in Hell about Regis Corporation) know where she is working away from her former position with Regis, Amber is better off now without Regis Corporation. Losing her house eligibility was a high price to pay for her freedom, but I believe being free from your absurd performance policies will eventually pay her great dividends.
You are watching economic Darwinism in action: turmoil, and the emergence of the strong, and the fading-away of the weak.
PS, it’s illegal to force people to sign anti-union statements. For the moment, you will probably get away with this violation of law… for the moment.