Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Is Los Angeles Dangerous for Kahn? A test of the "Law of Small Numbers"

Don't ask how I found the story I reprint below. Another guy named Matt Kahn who currently lives in Los Angeles was assaulted as he made the mistake of supplying replacement workers in the middle of strike. The "law of small numbers" claims that we are not good bayesians. When we update our priors about something such as "Is Los Angeles a safe city", that we place too much weight on salient data points. In this case, the salient data point is that a guy with my same name got beat up in a city that I'm moving to in 6 weeks.

I should ask UCLA for a pay raise to compensate me for this person specific risk!

International Union Hierarchy Sued For Viciously Assaulting Worker
National legal foundation to assist victim of union violence
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Los Angeles, Calif. (May 6, 2002) — With the help of the National Right to Work Foundation, Matthew Kahn filed suit today in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), for damages incurred during a vicious union beating following a 2001 strike.

The lawsuit alleges that on May 18, 2001, UNITE organizer Ramiro Hernandez and several union militants attacked Kahn in the parking lot of Labor Ready’s office in Commerce, giving him a concussion and several gashes on his head.

According to the complaint, the union brass bailed Hernandez, a long time union organizer, out of jail after the assault. Later investigation showed that Hernandez possesses an extensive arrest record for union-related activities.

“These thugs must be made to pay for their cowardly assault on an innocent man,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

The problems began in March 2001, when UNITE Local 482 began a strike against Hollander Home Fashions. Over the next two months, UNITE union official Ramiro Hernandez continually harassed Matthew Kahn, a branch manager for Labor Ready’s office in Commerce. Kahn was responsible for providing replacement workers during the strike. UNITE and its local affiliates were aware that Hernandez had numerous prior arrests for strike-related violence, and they have provided financial support to help Hernandez escape any punishment for his violent actions.

“By encouraging and supporting Hernandez and his goons, the top brass of UNITE are directly responsible for letting this happen,” stated Gleason.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. The National Institute for Labor Relations has recorded almost 10,000 media-reported incidents of union violence since 1975. Experts on labor- and strike-related violence estimate that unreported acts of harassment could swell that figure to 100,000 or more.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting over 250,000 employees in over 200 cases nationwide.