Blogging as whistle-blogging: Fracas at 1199 Family of Funds

In New York City, a concerned employee of the 1199 Family of Funds has created an anonymous blog entitled What’s Happening at 1199SEIU Family of Funds? that calls out two staffers as people who engage in nepotism, practice discrimination, and create an unfair culture.  In response to this blog, according to my source, the organization has blocked access to outside email (and is screening mail), has called a meeting to deny the allegations, and is (understandably) trying to figure out who the author is.

Meanwhile, employees are deeply engaging with the site, posting responses to posts that inquire about age discrimination, questionable and possibly illegal practices, and their right to exercise their free speech with this blog (“The fund is threatening employees with prosecution and termination if they participate in this blog. What ever happened to our right to speak? Isn’t that what our Union fights for? What would our Union do if management at one of the institutions will threaten our members the same way?”)

Interestingly enough, if you assume that the 1,800 employees of the 1199 Family of Funds are all aware of this blog–and perhaps 70 of them are posting on it–a picture emerges where some disgruntled employees–whistleblowers?–are using social media to a) air their grievances and b) try to create positive change (which doesn’t really seem to be working, does it?)

If I was a New York based journalist, or the journalism prof at a local J school, I’d jump all over this story, both to better understand what is actually going on at the 1199 Family of Funds and to see if anyone is accountable, and to understand and document how blogging–on blogspot, no less!–is being used as an organizing tool in a non-technical setting.

Social media, anyone? Wow.

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  1. Meitar Moscovitz says:

    It certainly is interesting (and encouraging) to see technological tools like blogs being used by non-technical people to promote positive change. It’s exciting to be witnessing the ideals of “free as in freedom” realizing the potential of freeing information in this way.
    I bet there’s a book somewhere in all this. ;)

  2. 1199 Concerned Employee says:

    Thank you for taking a look at our blog and diffusing information about our struggle.
    First of all, allow me to say that every accusation on this blog is based on true facts.
    Contrary to everything the Fund stands for, this new administration is using their position of authority to step all over workers rights. Taking advantage of our current economic times, they threaten employees with termination if they even attempt to be part of this blog. As an long term employee of the Fund, I have been witness to many changes, but I never thought that organization known for “fighting for workers rights” could engage in implementing such a string of unfair practices and pretend everything is just accusations of one or two disgruntled employees.
    As much as the Fund would like us to terminate the blog, this will not stop. We will continue to keep the blog alive and fight for our fellow employee’s rights.
    Feel free to email me.

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