As the Employee Free Choice Act (also known as “EFCA” or “Card Check”) is now legislatively dead, many unions are experiencing financial problems and declining membership. In an attempt to head off impending extinction, big labor bosses are returning to an old reliable business model to increase membership. Unions, like the SEIU and Unite Here, are once again out in force attempting to impose forced unionism upon employees of non-union companies (see Card Check Is Not Going to Happen). In many instances, they are doing so uninvited. In other words, they are hitting the streets to recruit workers, rather than having dissatisfied workers coming to them. Unlike a legitimate business making professional sales cold calls on prospective clients, unions send out organizers and big labor bosses who utilize coercion, deceptive rhetoric, and false promises because they do not have a product in which most people are interested. As I have explained in previous articles and blogs unions are Gasping Dinosaurs attempting to avoid extinction.
Union campaigns against corporations are, in reality, a business plan designed to target certain businesses and/or business groups, normally in a certain geographical area, by calculating the amount of potential membership dues or revenues that can be realized by imposing forced unionism, applying costs, and determining annual profit. Profit on which most unions do not pay taxes. Once budgets are developed, the organizing union unleashes ruthless attacks designed to force unsuspecting companies to capitulate and sign a Neutrality Agreement. These attacks are essentially a means of financial and psychological terrorism. However, much of this conduct has been condoned and, in fact, protected by its labor buddies at the NLRB (see Union Thuggery is Perfectly Legal).
It is important to understand that employees very rarely contact unions and request representation. These campaigns and the misconstrued propaganda directed at companies are manufactured by the unions to solicit empathy from the public and media and to empower and drive support to the union, as chronicled in my book The Devil at My Doorstep.
Since Card Check has been pronounced dead, the number of corporate campaigns has increased (see Unions Target Indianapolis Hotels, Union Accuses Marsh of Unfair Labor Practices, Unite Here Holds Atlantic City Hostage, ASA Pitches in with Unite Here and Boston SEIU Branch Seeks to Unionize General Electric Cleaning Crews). Despite claims by the unions that employees requested representation, these are typical targeted corporate campaigns similar to the “Justice for Janitors” campaign run against commercial cleaning companies in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio by the SEIU a few years ago.
If labor’s claim that employees are coming to them in droves has validity, then they should have no concerns about submitting to a secret ballot election to determine whether they will be selected as the employee’s bargaining representative. The truth, however, is that unions do not want employees to decide if they want representation through secret ballot elections. The truth is that the demand is not there. Despite repeated requests by many commercial cleaning companies to allow the NLRB to conduct Secret Ballot Elections during the “Justice for Janitors” campaign, the SEIU declined. Why? Simply because the SEIU had already approached employees and knew by their own surveys they would lose. Instead they want to impose Card Check by forcing companies to capitulate and sign a Neutrality Agreement.
Recently, an Indianapolis hotel was thwarted in its attempt to secure an election for organizing employees, as an example. In rejecting the hotel’s request, the NLRB stated that the union had not demanded recognition (see NLRB Rejects Request to Organize Union Vote). Here the hotel was giving the union an opportunity to be recognized as the employee representative. Why would the union reject this opportunity? Because they knew they would lose.
It is important to understand why the Hyatt’s petition was most likely rejected by the NLRB. An employer may petition for an election if a union has made a present demand for recognition – by requesting that an employer sign a collective bargaining agreement or offering to cease picketing if an employer signs a CBA. However, a request to sign a neutrality/card check agreement is not a present demand for recognition. A better approach for the Hyatt would be to argue that, even though the union had not made a present demand for recognition, its picketing activities were nonetheless recognizable, which is how EMS persuaded the Region to issue a complaint under Section 8(b)(7) as described in The Devil at My Doorstep. Additionally, these companies would do well to follow the blueprint established by EMS in its battle with the SEIU. Beat them at their own game, albeit professionally and ethically without resorting to ruthless attacks.
The important point to take away from these campaigns is that they are generally not employee generated or supported. They are union generated as a means of survival, as are the political games unions play to elect officials, who in turn return the favor through collective bargaining benefits and/or laws benefiting big labor. Even in the public sector, we’ve seen unions threaten Wisconsin businesses in an attempt to survive (see Unions Threaten Wisconsin Businesses). Unions utilize vicious attacks, propaganda, misrepresentation and coercion as a means of perpetuating themselves at the expense of employees who desire to be left alone. This is why the Right to Work Laws are so important. They protect employees and allow them to make their own decisions without pressure and intimidation, despite the fact that big labor distorts the Right to Work facts (see Union Bosses Distort Right to Work Facts. Despite representations by big labor, Right to Work laws are not union busting tactics, nor do they serve to decrease current union employees’ wages. It merely provides each individual freedom of choice.
Think about it for a second. If working conditions and compensation were such a big issue, don’t you think that government agencies like the D.O.L, NLRB, Wage and Hour, OSHA and the EEOC would be overwhelmed by employees filing charges? In addition, the mainstream media would be filling headlines with stories of employer abuse. You don’t hear the majority of employees complaining, only the ones that have been indoctrinated. Even in the stories written in Indianapolis media publications, employees stepped forward and expressed no interest in the unions despite the fear and intimidation. The truth is these people just want to be left alone to do their jobs and live their lives in relative peace. Maybe the uninvited interlopers should respect employees’ wishes and find a more professional and ethical business model.
About the author: David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.