Typical Anti-Union Tactics


What to Expect:

In the typical anti-union campaign, you can expect confusion, coercion and intimidation to keep you from unionizing. They will tell lies and put out misinformation about UFCW or unions in general to try and convince you that forming a union is a bad deal for you. Here are examples of company tactics and strategies: 

     1. DUES – “The union is only interested in your money — and you can’t afford union dues.”

Employers do things like distributing “documents” or news clippings that are supposed to show that the union needs your money to survive. They might also pass out phony checks with union dues “taken out” and bring in a bag of groceries with the label, “What you could buy with one year’s union dues.” 

With things the way they are today, you can’t afford not to have a union. The improvements in pay and benefits that come with UFCW membership more than offset the dues members pay—plus, members are treated better. Finally, no one pays dues until they’ve voted to approve a first contract and chosen to join the union. 

      2.  UNION CARDS – “When you sign a card for UFCW, you sign your life away. They’ll control everything about your job.”

Management often tries to convince workers that they’ll start getting orders from “union bosses”; that union officials will control job assignments and working conditions, and that workers will lose the ability to talk directly to management. Union decisions at UFCW are made democratically — by members, not “bosses.” With representation, you will have a fair system for promotions and job assignments rather than one that’s subject to arbitrary management decisions or favoritism. Finally, a UFCW steward, who will be one of your coworkers, can help you talk to management if you need or want them to, but it’s by no means required.

     3. THREATS – “We’ll have to close down and move elsewhere if the union gets in here” or “We will no longer afford to be in business”.  

The list goes on with what companies tell their employees. All this rhetoric, while they rake in millions of dollars in profits. Companies go to extraordinary lengths to make sure you stay “union free”. When was the last time your employer cared so much about your well-being except when you decided to look into forming a union? You will probably hear things like this from supervisors, but keep in mind they are being coached by books, videos, seminars and consultants that aid employers in their attempts to convince you that staying “union free” is in your best interest.

     4.  COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – “You start from zero when negotiating a contract and you may end up with less than you have already” or they may say you’ll start from a “clean sheet of paper”.

The exact opposite is true – collective bargaining helps the average union worker make 27.6% more than non-union workers. Collective bargaining happens with you and your coworkers at the table – you participate in negotiating your contract with your employer. Companies have to bargain in good faith, which means they can’t take away your wages and benefits and bargain from a “clean sheet of paper”. Its a myth. 

    5.  STRIKES – “The union can take you out on strike against your will!”

Managers and supervisors hammer this issue as often as possible is because not only does it conjure up images of personal security but economic security as well. Let’s unravel the myth of strikes. Although the company would love for you to believe that you “can be called out on strike” the UFCW requires that 2/3 majority “vote” to strike. During the past 10 years, UFCW negotiators won fair agreement and strong contracts without loss of a minutes work in over 99% of our contracts. In fact, more people in the U.S. miss work due to the common cold than because of strikes!

    6. BEGGING – “Give us a second chance!”

The CEO will often make a personal appearance, especially if it means traveling great distances, in order to make a teary-eyed plea for a “second chance”. The CEO will say they didn’t know how bad things had become, and they will promise to fix everything if the workers will vote “NO” on election day.

Nothing could be further from the truth! The company has no intentions of fixing anything — it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to take advantage of their employee’s good nature for their own greedy self interests.

In spite of these ruthless tactics, workers win union representation elections every day in our country. How do they do it? By staying informed and sticking together. Fear is a very powerful emotion, and that’s why the employer will use fear as a weapon against the workers during a union election. But fear cannot prevail when the workers are educated. The only legal way for workers to affect change in the workplace is through unionizing and collective bargaining. Don’t let fear and complacency stop you from enjoying a higher standard of living. 

   7. Keep your boss honest – It’s illegal for them to say or do anything on the list below: 

– Employers can not ask employees about their position on the union.

– Employers cannot ask employees about another worker’s views concerning the union.

– Employers cannot ask employees about the status of the union effort.

– Employers should not pull employees aside or call employees into their office to discuss the union.

– Employers cannot visit an employee’s home to discuss the union.

– Employers cannot make “captive audience” speeches to employees during the 24 hours preceding a union election. A “captive audience” speech is one held by the employer during work hours that requires mandatory attendance of all (or some) employees, if the purpose is to discourage union support. 

– Employers cannot say that it would be futile to elect a union because the employer’s position on working conditions, benefits or wages will not change. 

– Employers cannot ask an employee to act on behalf of the employer to dissuade other workers against the union, such as pressuring employees to wear “Vote No” buttons or to spy on their fellow workers.

– Employers cannot spy on employee union activity, imply that the employer has spied on them, or ask an employee to spy on other workers.

– An employer cannot solicit employee grievances and promise to remedy them if the union is not voted in. 

– An employer cannot promise an employee any benefit (such as an increase in pay or a promotion, more holidays, or better working conditions) in hopes of influencing the employee’s decision on the union or otherwise rejecting the union in an election.

– Employers cannot threaten to, or imply that it will, reduce wages or benefits if a union comes in. This includes statements that the bargaining process begins from scratch, starts at zero, etc. Likewise, an employer cannot take away any current benefits based on an employee’s position on unionization. 

– Employers cannot discipline (or threaten to discipline) an employee based on his or her union sentiments. 


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