The Company’s Anti-Union Campaign is a Sham. Here’s Why.
As sure as the sky is blue, you can expect many companies to spend crazy amounts of money on an anti-union campaign. They’re freaked out about losing power and control. They’ve got two goals, really:
- Turn attention away from the actual structure of the Union. In other words, try and get you to forget the fact that YOU are the Union. They will paint the union as a third-party intent on corrupting the workplace. All they are trying to do is shift attention away from the reason you contacted the union in the first place – better wages, better benefits and consistent work rules.
- Dupe you into giving them a second (and third and fourth) chance. They’ll say they didn’t know about the problems and ask you for a chance to make it right. They may even make superficial changes to appease you. It’s the reason a lot of union organizing campaigns don’t succeed the first time around. But, more often than not, the company will revert to their old ways and begin changing policy and reneging on their promises. Eventually, workers see through the lies and realize collective bargaining is the only way to gain a voice on the job.
So, what does the anti-union campaign look like? A whole lot of lawyer-driven propaganda and scare tactics like this:
Scare Tactic #1: Unions are big business.
The primary goal of labor unions is, and has always been, to improve the lives of working people. Collective bargaining is about ensuring those of you who are making the products and providing the services that keep our country running share in these record corporate profits. Nothing happens without your labor. You should be at the table negotiating better wages and working conditions, as well as protections to ensure your family is taken care of for years to come. There are millions of union members in America from all walks of life already doing this. They are the Union and they know that by speaking up together, you can accomplish more than you could on your own. Oh, and for the record, the IAM and other labor organizations are non-profits. Unions are the anti-thesis of big business. To imply anything else is laughable.
Scare Tactic #2: Unions are going out of business.
Labor unions have been around for more than 135 years. The IAM has been around for 127 years. Over that time, yes, union membership has fluctuated. What hasn’t fluctuated is our mission: to organize and lift up all workers. The fact is when Unions are strong, the middle class does better. Focus shifts towards the workers and away from executive pay and shareholder return. As a result, wages go up and inequality goes down. Today, we are some 600,000 members strong and fighting to make sure working people are treated with the respect they deserve. Oh yeah, and there are some 15 million union members in North America. That’s a long way from “going out of business”.
Scare Tactic #3: The Union is a gamble
This is presented as “bargaining from zero.” They will claim that nothing is guaranteed if you form a union. Your wages, benefits and more could improve, stay the same or get worse. They are aiming to create doubt. The reality is it is illegal for a company to cut salaries and benefits simply because workers decide they want to join the IAM. Not to mention, most companies today are seeing record profits. What will truly dictate the trajectory of negotiations is the current economics of the company and the industry. And don’t forget – you are the Union. You and your co-workers will make up the negotiations committee and will prioritize what’s important. The IAM has seasoned negotiators who have sat opposite the likes of Boeing, United Technologies, General Electric and more. They will be working with you to address YOUR top priorities. The harsh reality is you cannot improve the current conditions unless you join together in union to negotiate and enforce a binding contract that addresses issues such as raises, health care, job security and a stable schedule.
Scare Tactic #4: Misinformation about the Union constitution and bylaws
The company will twist and misconstrue parts of the IAM constitution. Below are a few examples used by employers:
- The company will cry you are subject to fines. In extreme circumstance, a local lodge could fine a member. One example is when somebody is found guilty of stealing from the union. Instances like this are rare, however.
- They will talk about assessments. This is also very rare in the IAM. The last assessment was over 50 years ago. The process requires all member to have the opportunity to vote up or down on an assessment. It’s fair and democratic.
- The company may also falsely imply that the union will run and control the local union. Membership will nominate and vote for their local lodge leadership. Your local lodge will develop its bylaws via local lodge members submitting suggestions. Additionally, all ordinances must be read twice to the membership. The reading will take place at two consecutive meetings, and then the membership will vote. The IAM’s International leadership is also subject to election by the membership. Dues are even voted on by the membership.
Lie #5: The Union will take you out on strike
Strikes are severe and never taken lightly. No one in the IAM can order or force a majority of members to strike against their will. Members covered by the contract are notified and given the chance to vote on the proposed agreement and on whether to strike. It takes a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of those voting to accept a contract. It takes a two-thirds majority (at least 66.6 percent) to strike. It’s safe to say that if 2/3 of any membership votes to strike then the issues that cause so many to agree to strike is serious.
Lie #6: Job loss
Often times you will hear the union talk about job security. The company will counter with nobody is guaranteed a job. To some degree that is true. But what are in contracts is job security in the form of recall rights from layoff, seniority rights, and the right to a grievance procedure with binding arbitration.