Darletta Scruggs, a single mother in Chicago who worked for Brink’s, was fired a week after participating in the Fight for 15 protests on April 15.
On April 21, Scruggs felt something was wrong when her company phone was turned off. She then went to work only to be told by a security guard that she would not be allowed to enter the building where she worked.
The proper procedure for termination is supposed to include a letter in the mail informing the worker that he or she is on suspension.
“I received none of that and, apparently, that notice was placed on April 21. That is not proper procedure,” Scruggs told Firedoglake.
Brink’s is a firm providing “security-related services” for thousands of businesses from banks to fast-food businesses. Such services “include include money processing, long-distance transport of valuables, vaulting and other value-added solutions.” The company did not respond to an email request for a comment on Scruggs’ termination.
Scruggs joined Brink’s in August 2014 as a “route coordinator or route logistic manager.” Essentially, she described it as an office job where tasks included customer service, scheduling or termination, albeit with limited powers.
The position was salary-paid and Scruggs was considered management by the company.
Scruggs joined drivers for routes in spite of not being trained to do so. She began to understand the frustration other workers felt when doing routes.
“It made me sympathize a little more with what the drivers and messengers would complaining about,” Scruggs said.
Since August 2014, Scruggs told Firedoglake the company began to cut benefits to workers. In one instance, vacation time was no longer based on seniority and, as a result, employees had to “earn it as they worked.”
“We started to see morale in the workplace fall and definitely an increase of anger and discontent. Of course, upper management was not very sympathetic or concerned about the issue they were bringing up,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs said her bosses would initially say such removal of benefits came from corporate. Furthermore, they cited the economy as a reason why changes were implemented.
With morale deteriorating and benefits cut, Scruggs inquired with other workers about forming a union. She was told by a few workers a union was created a few years ago only to dissolve shortly after.
Yet, Scruggs pressed on and worked with other workers to create a union. She became aware of a nationwide April 15 walkout organized by SEIU’s “Fight for 15″ campaign and told other Brink’s employees about the planned action. Workers, she noted, were interested in joining and learning more.
Management warned Brink’s employees, including Scruggs, before April 15 about unionization efforts. (more…)