Friday, 18 July 2008

Viterra to Hubich: Get our logo off your blog - OR ELSE!!!

On Saturday, July 12, 2008 I posted an entry on my blog entitled: Union Busting - Viterra Style. The blog entry displayed a graphic which included the Viterra Logo followed by the words: "= Union Busters". As you will see the offending graphic has been removed from the blog entry and replaced.

On Friday, July 18, 2008 my office received a letter from Viterra's Corporate Counsel advising me to remove the logo from my blog, or else. A screen shot of the letter is posted immediately below.
.
You can view a PDF scan of the full letter from Viterra's Corporate Counsel by clicking here.

*UPDATE* A friend of mine just sent me an e-mail and suggested Googling for images using the word "Viterra" just to see if any other web-sites have displayed the Viterra Logo. So I did. I wonder how many of these have received threatening letters from the company's lawyer.

29 comments:

myworld said...

at least you got their attention.. and it must have been some special attention, to receive such rhetoric

leftdog said...

Talk about over reacting on Viterra's part!! Boo hoo hoo ... someone get them a box of tissues!

If Viterra wants to take on Larry Hubich, they might just have to deal with a quite a handful of Progressive Bloggers ... if that is what they are looking for ... well ... maybe that is what they will get!

Dr.Dawg said...

That would fall under fair comment, wouldn't it? You aren't appropriating the trademark for financial gain. It seems to me, although the IANAL disclaimer applies, that this is similar to reporting on a dispute at, say, a Coca-Cola bottling plant, and reproducing the logo in a photo as part of the story.

Robert Pitzel said...

LOL his e mail is on that letter...

leftdog said...

Why yes it is!
kevin.barbero@viterra.ca

I think I will email him and point out how completely thin skinned and mean spirited he and his company are!

leftdog said...

Maybe a few other bloggers may want to tell Canadians the story of what Viterra is doing to workers in the 'new' Saskatchewan!

Saskboy said...

Pretty disapointing, but not too surprising from a company that would lock out its employees.

common sense said...

Pretty disappointing but not too surprising from a bunch of people that have gotten so used to sitting in the same comfy job for 30 years, putting in half the effort and taking their job for granted that even the thought of performance-based and results-oriented work environment is so scary that it brings out the ugliest (but perhaps true) colors...I suppose all the time freed up from not sitting in the office has to be filled with something, like personal threats, verbal abuse, making of Halloween costumes, disrupting the lives of businesses and residents in the neighborhood...yeah, very civil. After all, if its so unbearable to have to display some productivity in the workplace, why not take advantage of a more than sufficient supply of average, comfortable and undemanding jobs out there these days?? What a joke!!

Saskboy said...

CS, how many of the strikers have been there 30 years or close to that?

Francis Walsingham said...

You took the logo off, Larry. Which means they were right and you were wrong.

What else are you wrong about?

HankR said...

I suppose they only send letters to people who try to harass them by posting false and misleading information on their websites.

Larry Hubich said...

Thanks to all for participating in this blog.

HankR, what specifically is it on this web-site that you are suggesting constitutes "false and misleading information"?

Saskboy said...

Francis, it's foolhardy to spit in the eye of litigious corporate lawyers. Unless you do it with a joke and a smile on your face.

Speaking of which, Larry it's awesome that Viterra sent you a letter for your blog, with their logo on it, so you can still proudly display the Viterra attitude, even after removing the logo they asked you to take down. Or you could use my parody work of the logo, which is apparently legal in Canadian law (you may wish to consult your counsel naturally).

Us bloggers have to stick together when big business tries to flex its muscles with lawsuit threats.

myworld said...

Larry, the fact that your blog got enough attention by some brass somewhere - so much so that the corporate lawyers had to be called in, is downright cool.
The fact that the only thing they could get you for is the so-deemed "improper" use of their logo, proves you are presenting truthful information - and thats flipping hilarious.
Good work!

the regina mom said...

Common sense? OMFG! That was Grant Devine's phrase. Guess we know where "common sense" the commenter falls into the scheme of things! And those were some schemes that common sense bunch created, eh? Only a few landed up in jail, though. And some lucky ones got off scott-free!

common sense said...

Saskboy, enough that I have seen walking by this mess twice a day. The younger ones just can't build up the courage to cross the line because who would want to be harrassed and threatened by people who don't really have much respect for diversity of opinions..

Regina Mom, yep - another example of civility and class...OMFG is exactly what I'd expect to hear from a "mom" like you. I do not work for the company like you implied, but would be very proud to.

I have to admit I don't really understand people that insist they are entitled to their jobs or pay - it has to be earned every day and what you put in should be what you get out of it. Doesn't that sound fair? Communism hasn't really worked anywhere else, why should it work here?

Saskboy said...

"I have to admit I don't really understand people that insist they are entitled to their jobs or pay - it has to be earned every day and what you put in should be what you get out of it. Doesn't that sound fair? Communism hasn't really worked anywhere else, why should it work here?"

CS, I don't know why you brought up communism, isn't that a red herring? (pardon the pun)

People should have to do their jobs, and earn their pay and benefits every day they are at the job. And they should be free to organize into unions, just as businesses are free to buy each other out and simultaneously limit work options for the labour force. Ying and Yang.

common sense said...

Saskboy, given an awe-inspiring amount of awareness you display regarding communism let me suggest a few excellent sources you might want to consult next time, Google for instance. In your research you will notice (just to introduce a few spoilers) that unions were the stronghold of communism with a belief that employers owed (and the state ought to guarantee) every single capable person a job and an equal pay (curiously regardless of the level of skill). I'm not sure if you noticed but its not 1850s or 1917, its 2008. Employer/employee relationship has undergone some major changes for the positive no doubt and there is no need for employees to rely on a union's opinion about whats good or bad for them. Personally I don't know anyone who's counting sleeps until the day they can join a union voluntarily because they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions. What you may not have noticed is that labour market these days is ruled by an employee and this will continue to be the trend for awhile given that there is a lot fewer people entering the labour market and a lot more folks retiring. So your comment about limited work options is populist at best. Like I mentioned in my previous post - its never been easier to address your unhappiness in the workplace by way of finding a different job (that might be too much work though...hmmmmmm). And there's no need in having to cling to your current employer and more so, having displayed aggression and verbal abuse towards the non-union colleagues as is so wisely advised by the union's "think tank", expect to come back to the old job after all this is done like nothing has ever happened. Problem is many jobs come with a "priviledge" of a union status so folks in these jobs have to do whatever the union tells them or else, and that smells a bit like communism mixed with dictatorship.

Larry Hubich said...

Thank you again to all for your comments.

"Common Sense", your understanding of what trade unions are, how they function, and what they mean to society is rooted in mythology and your comments regurgitate unsupported, unsubstantiated, and inaccurate stereotypes.

Here's what the Supreme Court of Canada has to say about work, about unions, and about how unions are essential to a properly functioning society and to democracy itself.

"Work is one of the most fundamental aspects in a person’s life, providing the individual with a means of financial support and, as importantly, a contributory role in society. A person’s employment is an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being. Accordingly, the conditions in which a person works are highly significant in shaping the whole compendium of psychological, emotional and physical elements or a person’s dignity and self respect. "[Emphasis added]

"The ability of employees to form and join an employee association (union) is thus crucially linked to their economic and emotional well-being. Membership in employee groups assists the individual member in a great many ways. Simply to join a trade union is an important exercise of an individual’s freedom of expression. It is a group which so often brings to the individual a sense of self-worth and dignity. An employee association provides a means of openly and frankly discussing work-related problems without fear of interference or intimidation by the employer. The association provides a means of expressing a collective voice, not only in communicating with the employer, but also in communicating with government, other groups, and the general public. The fundamental importance of the union remains, ..... The freedom of employees to participate in an employee association is basic and essential in our society. A statute whose purpose or effect is to interfere with the formation of employee associations will clearly infringe s. 2(d) of the Charter." [Emphasis added]

Joe638NYC said...

can you e-mail the offensive picture so I can put it on the top of my site :)

well maybe not the top, but after I get some sleep, I'll read up more about it.

I posted some discouraging stuff about a local official on "affordable housing" and the website which was hosting the images changed the url's, haha, I got them cached

There's something very nice about having a not-for-profit independent site.

In solidarity,
Joe

common sense said...

Good point, Larry! It is interesting though that in this particular dispute certain members of the Union – a voluntary association of people with such a noble purpose as to provide an open and honest forum for employees – appear to be unfamiliar with such points of the Charter as the right to personal security, freedom of speech and expression of an opinion when personally threatening and verbally abusing those non-union and union members who chose to express an opinion and position that is different from the Union’s. That’s plain bullying that has no place in a truly democratic society, yet there appears to be a notion that a Union member status somehow exempts you from having to respect the rest of the Charter.
If all unions operated in accordance with the Supreme Court’s recommendation or the Charter any labour disputes would be resolved a lot quicker in a much more peaceful way. This would be an awesome scenario had the top of the Union structure not been infected with a personal ambition bug that is being cleverly (or not so cleverly) disguised as the position of the Union. I really can't see how it can be a common voted decision of all union members to advise on such barberic methods of influence. In reality the Union isn’t any better and works in much the same way as some “big bad corporation” or a political party that it is fighting against.

Joe638NYC said...

It made the top of the heap, gotta run for now

Saskboy said...

CS "its not 1850s or 1917, its 2008. Employer/employee relationship has undergone some major changes for the positive no doubt and there is no need for employees to rely on a union's opinion about whats good or bad for them."

Sadly, that's like saying that women are on equal footing these days with men in the workplace (and society at large), so there's no need for feminism. It's not really true, but for someone without eyes that are open, it might seem true.

It's also not a good possibility for workers to dictate their wage if they operate without a union. Places like McDonalds and Walmart are not so hard up for employees that they are offering wages anywhere close to unionized workplaces. Yet the unionized workplaces manage to stay in business despite paying their employees more... I wonder how that could be...

John said...

I don't know man...have you tried applying for a non-unionized job in the last 10 years? Any time any of my friends or I apply for a new job we consider 3-4 different options and employers do compete for us...shocking, I know... You ARE bang on with unionized places "managing" to stay in business - non-unionized are thriving as far as I can see and winning the war for talented and skilled workers

Saskboy said...

Yes I have John, and I've applied in both my area of training, and outside of it. There are two that stick out as being non union, and one was very eager to hire me. The wage was significantly below the wages I got at my next 2 unionized jobs. Although I've had a unionized job in a city outside of Regina that paid only as much as the non-unionized job in Regina. So it's obviously just a mixed bag, at least in IT.

Robert Pitzel said...

Commonsense... I find your views and opinions about unions and their member’s extremist. It is unbelievable you are able to lump everyone from a union into one category and summarily declare them lazy and undeserving. You must be management...

HankR said...

The same can be said about those who criticize capitalists, right wingers or management, pitzel.

You criticize the right for lumping one group all together then lump all those people into management.

Brilliant thinker...

Saskboy said...

I was assuming Robert was using satire in his last remark, given what else he said.

recursive.genepool said...

common sense:
"I have to admit I don't really understand people that insist they are entitled to their jobs or pay"

Why stop There? Why does anyone deserve to be paid for their work at all? Why don't we just allow slavery and be done with it? What exactly entitles people to pay for work, anyway? You work, I profit, everyone's happy, right?

Joe638NYC, once you get the email can you pass it on to me? (recursive dot genepool at gmail dot com)