Once a petition for a secret ballot election has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board, companies often spend the weeks leading up to the election providing misleading information and launching a rumor campaign. Union-busting companies are a multi-billion dollar business. It’s sad but true that many times companies will spend millions to keep you from having a union at work – money that would be better spent investing in their workforce, rather than against it.
What to Expect From Your Employer - It is truly amazing at what lengths companies will go to keep you from forming a union.
Why do companies use every tool in their arsenal to tell you not to vote for dignity and respect on the job? Because they know that if you have a union, you are no longer under the thumb and control of the company. On the contrary, they know that by forming a union, you have control over your own life, making your own choices that are fair and equitable for you and your family.
Typical Company Anti-Union Tools
Companies have access to a wide variety of anti-union material from many sources. The typical anti-union campaign has a time line of activities where you can expect confusion, coercion and intimidation to keep you from becoming a union.
Lies are usually out front. Companies will tell flat-out lies and put out misinformation and statements about the IAM every step of the way to try to convince you that forming a union is a bad deal for you.
Have you heard this one? "We'll have to close down and move elsewhere if the union gets in here" or "We will no longer be able to afford to be in business." The list goes on with what companies tell their employees. All this rhetoric, while they rake in millions of dollars in profits.
Companies go to extraordinary lengths to make sure you stay "union free." When was the last time your employer cared so much about your well-being except when you decided to look into forming a union?
In some campaigns, companies will go to the edge or break the law just to prevent you from forming a union. Know your rights and keep good notes and copies of company propaganda and threats. Good documentation is very helpful should the IAM need to file an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against the employer for unlawful activity.
The IAM will not respond to all anti-union rhetoric. The IAM believes in staying positive and on-task while assisting you in forming your union. If you have any issues or concerns you need addressed, feel free to contact us.
Typical Company Tactics Get Supervisors Involved
Companies will usually start introducing the company's position on unions. Keeping companies "union free" is big business in America. Books, videos, seminars and consultants all aid employers in their attempts to convince you that staying "union free" is in your best interest.
The "Union Avoidance" industry, a term heavily used by employers, employs more than 10,000 lawyers and consultants. They are usually called in the moment a company hears that employees are interested in unionizing.
For the first week of the campaign, management has prepared its front line troops, the supervisors. Preparation is over and the groundwork is laid. Management is ready to begin its all-out assault. By this time you have probably received at least one handbill/love letter from the company.
Focus next shifts to the first of several issues that you will be hammered with over the coming weeks. Job security is usually one of the first issues given, playing on the potential fear created through the idea of economic insecurity.
Collective Bargaining and Company Proposals
The general goal is to convince you that you will receive less under a union contract than you already have. You may begin to hear things like "You start from zero when negotiating a contract and you may end up with less than you have already." Or "You could just as easily wind up worse off than you were prior to organizing. Just because you have a union does not mean we have to agree with your demands and, for example, you could wind up with a lower rate of pay. That's why they call it negotiations, and the Company will make proposals too." The fact is that if a company enters into bargaining with the intention of reducing existing wages and benefits because you chose to form a union, it would constitute an unlawful act and an Unfair Labor Practice.
Department of Labor statistics show that unionized workers earn about 42% more in total compensation (wages and benefits) and enjoy better working conditions than nonunion workers.
Direct Assault on the IAM
What is more intimidating than direct assaults to your personal security? During the campaign management will try to create an atmosphere under which you and your co-workers become fearful of the union. Attempts will be made to make you believe that vandalism and intimidation are what the union is about. These attempts are usually carried out using two themes: Vandalism of personal property and threats and intimidation of your co-workers.
One of the most effective tools in a union buster's arsenal is strikes. The reason they advise managers and supervisors to hammer this issue as often as possible is because not only does it conjure up images of personal security but economic security as well.
Let's unravel the myth of strikes. Although the company would love for you to believe that you "can be called out on strike" the Machinists Union requires that 2/3 majority of workers who will be represented by the contract vote to authorize a strike. Union representatives can't vote because they won't be covered by the agreement, and they cannot force you to go out on strike. During the past 10 years, IAM negotiators won fair agreements without the loss of a minute's work in over 98% of our contracts. In fact, more people in the U.S. miss work due to the common cold than because of strikes!
Oftentimes, companies will suddenly "hear" your issues. They may offer shift improvements, bonuses, even pay raises in order to convince you that they are really on your side and - now that you have their attention - listening to you. The fact is, nothing they offer has to last beyond the vote - unless you join the union and get it in writing, in the form of a collective bargaining agreement.
The "Final Push" and the "Sympathy Plea"
The last weeks of the campaign are the employer's last chance to convince you that a union would not be in your best interest. Time is running out and for the employer, desperate times require desperate measures. During the week, your employer will review each of the topics already discussed. Letters home or meetings will occur almost every day of the week of the election. One-on-one meetings with supervisors, friendly chats showing interest in your spouse, children, hobbies and future goals are all common. Managers have even gotten up in front of a captive audience meeting and cried. They will beg and plead for another chance and tell you that it would be better if you could just work on your issues without a third party "in the middle" muddying the waters. Ask yourself why, all of a sudden, are the company and your manager so concerned for your well-being?
Please watch the following youtube videos about Modern Union Busting