Union-wrecking industry tracker
A volunteer group of union members from across the United States has developed an online map of the anti-union industry. The map lists both corporations and anti-union firms that they hire for thousands of dollars a day to incite workers against unions. Check out laborlab.us/unionbustingtracker to see where LaborLab identified 180 instances (as of November 28).
Bob Funk, founder of LaborLab.us, says, “A shocking number of young people think unions are illegal and do not know their rights.” This tool aims to raise awareness of how corporations and anti-union firms are bombarding workers with misinformation and intimidation tactics for them from agreeing to union representation. Amazon hired Rock Creek Consulting to undermine the 2020 union initiative at its warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, and smaller firms also use anti-union tactics. Funk said he was most surprised at how many hospital companies are hiring anti-union firms to prevent frontline health workers from joining a union and gaining much-needed bargaining rights. (tinyurl.com/y9nza4z2)
Refresco Beverage employees demand fair treatment
When workers at Refresco Beverage Company in Wharton, New Jersey realized how the pandemic was affecting their health and well-being at work, they organized a strike demanding adequate protection and tracing. Encouraged by this action, workers launched a union campaign and, 15 months after their first strike, won an election approved by the National Labor Relations Board, represented by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE).
This was a hard-won victory. Refresco Beverage is an international company that bottles and sells well-known products such as Coca-Cola. The majority of workers at the Wharton plant speak Spanish and the company has hired Lupe Cruz, a “union avoidance” consultant who specializes in bilingual anti-union tactics. The company hired employees to attend meetings in which Cruz used ethnic and linguistic differences to confuse and scare immigrant workers.
Alejandro Coriat, a Hilton Hotel employee, calls it intersectional union busting. He described how Cruz’s tactics relied on the exploitation of the workers’ language and ethnic origin. Fortunately, Hilton workers won their union election anyway, as did Refresco workers. The battle for the beverage factory workers is not over, however, as Refresco appeals the NLRB decision. The union organizing committee staff do not allow themselves to be discouraged and prepare for the shop steward elections and, ultimately, for the contract negotiations. (Tinyurl.com/yckzjfx7)
Burgerville workers have a union contract
As Workers World reported in 2019, “The Burgerville Workers Union, based in Vancouver, Washington, and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, went on strike four Burgerville stores for four days, forcing the company to return to the negotiating table. BVWU is the first ever fast food union in the US This was the second BVWU strike since 2017, when the union forced the company to recognize it through a three-day strike. ”
Fast forward to 2021: Burgerville Workers Union has a tentative contract! Union organizers expect ratification before the end of 2021. BVWU represents workers in five of Burgerville’s 40 locations, but the company has announced that it will apply the contract to all of them regardless of location. Wages will be raised to at least $ 15 an hour and the company will be introducing credit card tipping at drive-through locations. It is estimated that the tip increases the hourly wage by $ 2. Stable scheduling and vacation pay were additional gains on contract, with workers who can get a three-month work schedule. “This gives workers long-term security of knowing how much money they are earning, what their working hours will be and what to plan when they have children,” said union organizer Mark Medina. (tinyurl.com/2p8wws35)