You Have the Right to Organize Your Union!

* The freedom of workers to join together in unions and bargain a contract is a fundamental human right that US labor law guarantees... in principle.

* But when America's workers seek to exercise this right today, despite their industry or job classification, from janitors to healthcare workers, whether its doctors or factory workers and on and on, they always run into employer interference: threats, intimidation, coercion and outright warfare.

* These employer tactics are designed to instill fear, doubt, confusion, which they do with devastating effectiveness.

Why do you think the employers behave this way?

* They see the union as a threat. Employees are considered their property!

* They want to do what they want, when they want -- change in work rules, etc.

* They do not want to share the profits or wealth of the company -- lower wages mean higher profits for the company

* They want to keep the decision making within their selected circles.

Employers take this type of action because they believe it is in their best interest to have and maintain control. Workers on the other hand want to be treated respectfully, have input on changes that affect them and the job that they do, but most importantly -- just do a good job and get a decent paycheck. That is why there is a natural tension during an organizing campaign.

The Company Campaign

What are some of the tactics management uses in Union election campaigns?

* Mandatory meetings

* One-on-One meetings (supervisor to worker meeting on union support)

* Tells workers If union comes in they will lose their benefits

* Supervisors would no longer be able to be flexible in individual cases

* Negotiations would start from scratch, "...negotiations would begin with a clean piece of paper, all benefits would be on hold"

* Management would bargain "hard" employees may lose, rather than gain, as a result of the bargaining process

* The Union will hurt the company

* The Union does not care about part-time workers (they would lose out)

Based on this list do you think management can be effective or have an impact on your co-workers? What can we expect from management this time?

The Union Buster

* Employers have become increasing sophisticated at circumventing the law by hiring union consultants -- we call them "union busters."

* During 3/4s of all elections employers hire experience professional anti-union consultants advise them on strategy and tactics and to coordinate the anti union campaign.

* Employers often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for these consultants and the strategies that will help them circumvent the intent of labor law. It is amazing how dollars can be found to pay a consultant to stay union free versus giving workers decent raises!

Some of consultant tactics include:

* Advising employers on how to create an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and confusion in the workplace.

* Anti-union propaganda stress familiar themes -- strikes, violence, insecurity and disruption, restrictive clauses of the union constitution, officials salaries, allegations of corruption, employees will surrender their right to deal with management, and on and on.

* Consultants write or help employers to write anti-union letters signed by senior management, prepares literature, and misrepresents union positions and contracts.

* Consultants advise employers to use front-line supervisors who are critical to the company's campaign. Why do you think they are they so important? They have the closest relationship with the workers, know their strengths/weakness, have personal info on them, etc).

* The union buster gains the cooperation of supervisors by telling them a union contract will undermine their authority with the workers

* The union buster will teach supervisors how to identify and organize anti-union employees into "vote no" committees... to put pressure on undecided workers.

* Supervisors are also advised that, as part of management, they can be terminated for refusing to participate in anti-union campaign.

The point is that Supervisors are made to believe their future and entire worth at the company is dependent on how many "no" votes they deliver in an election. It is not about if supervisors are good or bad. They are following directions. Our job is to make sure your co-workers do not fall for it.

The union buster is the strategist; so if someone new shows up in a meeting with HR rep. or with your manager, take note of his or her name. Pass on the information to us and we will get the dirt on him so that we can expose the company's plan and the amount they are paying to move it.

Conclusion

We know from experience that the only way we can reduce the effectiveness of the employers' campaign is to get in front of it. In other words pre-empt their campaign by preparing our supporters in advance on what they will say and do. Giving them accurate information about how a union works, why we pay dues and where our dues dollars go, how negotiation works, etc. This is called "inoculation."

As the committee your role is critical in making sure that your co-workers are inoculated against management's campaign. It is important that they understand why management needs to create distrust about the Teamsters union and most importantly, they do not fall for it. As an employee you will be the most effective in conveying this message!