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<nettime> Yahoo! Censors Workers' Virtual Leafleting Campaign


<http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000222/ca_seiu_ya_1.html>

   Tuesday February 22, 9:42 am Eastern Time
  Company Press Release
   SOURCE: SEIU Local 1877
   
SEIU Local 1877: Yahoo! Censors Workers' Voices, Abruptly Ends Virtual
Leafleting Campaign

  LA Airport Security Workers Rally at Yahoo! Headquarters to Protest
  Cancellation of Internet Ad Campaign
  
   SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Yahoo!, one of the leading
   Web portals, has cancelled an advertising campaign which sought to
   bring a message, via the Internet, from passenger service workers
   attempting to form a union at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
   With the help of the Respect at LAX campaign, passenger service
   workers at the airport employed by Argenbright Security, an AHL
   Services, Inc. company (Nasdaq: AHLS - news), were using virtual
   leaflets (banner advertisements) strategically placed on Yahoo! to
   publicize their labor dispute and a connecting Web site,
   www.un-fulfilled.com.
   
   The Campaign began distribution of the virtual leaflets in
   mid-January, but by early February, they were informed that the
   advertisements were being dropped because they ran counter to Yahoo's
   policy in this area. However, Yahoo! reviewed the banner ad content
   prior to commencement of the campaign.
   
   The virtual leaflets were presented to Web users who sought
   information on AHL Services, or their e-commerce subsidiary, Gage
   Marketing, via the Yahoo! Web site. If users clicked through on the
   leaflets, they were then connected to the un-fulfilled.com Web site.
   
   The cancellation came just days after Administrative Law Judge James
   L. Rose ruled that Argenbright was guilty of committing dozens of
   violations of federal labor laws against these employees. The
   violations include 40 suspensions and final warnings stemming from a
   legal, protected strike by the employees in April, 1999. They also
   include the disciplining of another union activist and threats, both
   written and verbal, against the Argenbright employees.
   
   The Campaign decided to use this inventive approach since Argenbright
   Security had sufficiently silenced their employees, using both legal
   and non- legal measures to keep them from forming a union.
   
   According to SEIU Local 1877 President, Mike Garcia, ``AHL has used
   illegal threats and intimidation to silence these workers and Yahoo!'s
   decision to pull the ad is an attempt to silence them once again. AHL
   customers who use Yahoo! have the right to know that AHL is a
   law-breaker,'' he said. ``While Yahoo! claims to support Internet
   free-speech, their decision to cancel the ad demonstrates their
   willingness to use censorship to prevent the public from learning that
   AHL has been convicted of breaking federal labor laws.''
   
   Yahoo!'s decision to censor the ads runs contrary to positions that
   Yahoo! executives have taken in the past on free-speech issues.
   According to Chief Yahoo! Jerry Yang, ``We (Yahoo!) try to be very
   inclusive of everybody's comments and everybody's opinions even if
   those opinions are not very favorable.'' (The Daily Yomiuri, March 12,
   1996)
   
   Moreover, the company's general counsel, John Place, recently said in
   an interview, ``To me, the most exciting thing about the Internet is a
   democratization ... everyone has a voice. It's the ultimate function
   of a participatory democracy.'' (The National Law Journal, December
   20, 1999) Unfortunately the company's actions speak louder than their
   words.
   
   Mary Anne Hohenstein, organizing director of SEIU Local 1877 was quite
   disheartened by Yahoo's decision. ``We believed this was an outlet
   where we could freely spread the worker's message,'' she said.
   ``Argenbright has willfully violated the law in order to prevent its
   employees from exercising their rights to organize a union. The
   workers should have the right to share this message with the public
   and Argenbright's customers. Yahoo was wrong in unilaterally ending
   our contract to do so.''
   
   Respect at LAX is one of the largest joint organizing campaigns in
   country, bringing together two of the fastest growing unions, the
   Service Employees International Union and the Hotel Employees and
   Restaurant Employees International Union to organize low-wage workers
   at Los Angeles International Airport.
   
   SOURCE: SEIU Local 1877

   Copyright  2000 Yahoo! All Rights Reserved. 

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