Press release from Moog Music Union:
On Wednesday June 1st, Moog Music employees in Asheville, North Carolina are going public with a union drive. They are organizing with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and seek to join the Local 238 chapter. They are holding a community rally after work to kick off the campaign.
WHO: Moog Music workers and community members in support
WHAT: A rally to celebrate and kick off the unionization effort at Moog
WHERE: Parking lot between 160 and 174 Broadway, next to Moog Music Factory
WHEN: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 5pm
Employees seek to address unlivable low wages, achieve a voice in the company, and gain just-cause employment protections. They also seek to set precedent by unionizing a manufacturing facility in the south. North Carolina is the second least unionized state in the nation, with just 2.6% of workers organized. Moreover, in 2021, Oxfam ranked North Carolina as the worst state in the country for wages, worker protections, and rights to organize.
In 2015, Michael Adams, owner and president of Moog Music, sold 49% of the company to employees. The subsequent seven years have made it clear, however, that employee ownership falls short with regards to providing stable livable employment. The starting hourly rate at Moog for assemblers, packers, and warehouse workers is $14.10/hour. In Asheville, a living wage is $17.70/hour, the highest in the state due to its tourism economy and status as a destination for retirees and pandemic transplants.
Jack Dahnke works the final calibration station on the Matriarch line noted “every single instrument I pass through my station sells for more than my monthly take home wages and I’m expected to go through 11 daily.”
Aubrey Young has worked on the production floor for close to two years, leads two lines and says he has “yet to make above $16.46/hr. My lines have made thousands of instruments”
Fourteen people have been laid off in the last few months and the layoffs disproportionately included people of marginalized identities. Prior to the layoffs, the company was approximately 9% people of color, 6% trans, and 70% cis white men. Of those let go, 29% are people of color, 21% are trans, and 35% are cis white men. Four of the fourteen had been vocal in challenging executives during company meetings. Two had begun the unionization effort and were a part of the Volunteer Organizing Committee at Moog.
The company also recently settled a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Hannah Green, a former employee in the sales department.
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