by Mike Rhodes email@example.com Transportation department employees who were struggling to unionize the transportation department at The Fresno Bee lost their October 23 election. The vote was 39-28 with three challenged ballots. The problem from the start of this election was whether there existed the basis for a fair and democratic election. The company started by firing the union's lead organizer, Jerry Haydostian, on the day the election was filed for. They continued by threatening and intimidating other employees, telling them that they had no first amendment rights at The Fresno Bee. One person was told that she could not have union literature on the premises, was not allowed to use the bulletin boards, and that The Bee had cameras watching her every action. The Bee hired goons to do their dirty work. They brought in 4 full time union busters who interrogated employees about their loyalty to the company, showed them anti-union propaganda films, and divided workers in whatever way they could. At the height of the campaign the entire transportation department was turned into a war zone in which sophisticated techniques in psychological warfare were used. One incident is illustrative of how the companies campaign worked. Two weeks before the election transportation workers where told that the company was going to provide part time NON UNION employees health care benefits. The message was clear - vote against the union and you will get health care benefits. Vote for the union and you will get nothing. Never mind the fact that bribing people in an election is against the law or that employees would be guaranteed health care benefits with a union contract, the fact is that The Bee was able to convince enough people to vote against their own best interests. Where do we go from here? That is up to CWA Local 9408 and the transportation organizing committee who must now decide if they want to challenge the results of the election and have a new election soon or wait for one year and try again when conditions might be better. We will let our readers know what happens.