Workers who seek to organize a union are truly heroes. The workers run real risks that threaten their security and that of their families. The National Labor Relations Board issued new rules to speed up the time from the filing of a petition until the election in order to cut down the time that the employer has to threaten and intimidate workers into voting against the union. Employer's called these new election rules election by "ambush". Even under the rules employer's use their power over the work place to subject workers to great stress. A good recent example is Ground Effects, a supplier to the Ford Motor Company.
Even under the new rules, this employer brought in a group of professional union busters. The union started this election cycle with about 75% of the employees signed up. They lost the election narrowly. The following is a list of illegal acts committed by these union busters:
· Interrogated employees about their union sympathies.
· Threatened that the plant would close if the union won.
· Solicited grievances from employees with a promise that the employer would remedy them so there was no need for a union.
· Announce a bi-weekly pay period and then, during the campaign, continue weekly pay in response to employee objections.
· Tell employees that if the union won they would not be allowed to talk to managers and the union would fine them if they did, and that the union would fine workers who did work outside of their classification.
· Smoke breaks would be eliminated if the union won.
· They would get a 401(k) plan if the union lost the election.
· The union could not improve their conditions if it won.
In addition, the employer called workers together in small groups and showed professional quality anti-union films that acted out scenarios where the union abused the workers and threatened their jobs. The provided tacos to the Latino workers and McDonalds to the Anglo workers.
Workers were sent home early in reprisal for the filing of the union election petition.
The NLRB settled the unfair labor practice with an agreement that the union could have a second election after the employer posted notices of its misconduct. But what an ordeal to go through just to enjoy the right to belong to a union!