Card Check: In One Manufacturer’s Own Words

By April 20, 2007Labor Unions

You regular blog readers know we’ve spent a lot of time writing on the anti-democracy card check bill, but no matter how much we write, there ain’t nothing like a heartfelt first-person account like this one that came in from one of our small and medium manufacturers. We’ll keep him out of it, so the union goons don’t go try to burn down his house (you’ll see he has reason to fear that), but suffice it to say he’s a long-time and well-respected member — and leader — of ours and of his community. In this one letter, all the theory about this issue melts away in the face of some cold, harsh reality. It is a clear illustration of what really goes on out there in the trenches. And it ain’t pretty.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter to his Senator:

“At [my company], our labor force was unionized in the 50’s. I joined the Company in the 70’s. In 1992, a decertification vote was taken and our workforce became non-union. Starting in the mid 90’s our Company really began growing rapidly, and we have grown more in the 15 years of non-union status than in the previous 50 years the Company had been in business.

My experience, as head of both a union and non-union Company, is that unionization has absolutely nothing to do with what companies pay in wages and benefits, but it has a lot to do with the opportunity of the company to be successful. We oppose unionization because of the shackles it puts on a company and it’s employees to be productive and react to change.

Three years ago, the 25 delivery drivers in our Company decided in an open and free election to be represented by the Teamsters Union. We campaigned against unionization, but when we lost, we negotiated and signed a two-year contract. As part of the contract, drivers were to get the exact same pay and benefit changes given to the rest of the workforce over the life of the contract.

By the time the contract was nearing an end, drivers that were tired of harassment from the local union leaders filed for a decertification election. Two days before the election, the Teamsters filed unfair labor practice charges to postpone the vote. The NLRB took 3-months before clearing the Company of all major charges and all but 2 very minor ones.

The Teamsters were doing everything they could to keep our employees from voting on decertification because they knew that they would lose. Three years ago, 19 employees signed union cards. Thirteen voted in favor of unionization. After only 2 years, the employees now know that the union promises were empty and they want out, but have been unable to vote.

In the meantime, the pro-union drivers have done everything possible in the workforce to harass the non-union drivers. There is no longer any cooperation between drivers on opposing sides and it has made it increasingly difficult for our supervisor and dispatchers to effectively manage our fleet and our customers.

Since the vote was postponed, the union has conducted a corporate campaign against the Company and against me personally as President. Union reps have gone to jobsites, trade shows and home shows passing out literature discouraging people from doing business with [my company].

On several occasions, union leaflets have been spread around my neighborhood saying that I’m being investigated by “the feds” or “the federal government”

When asked by one of our drivers why the union is trying to reduce business for [my company] and deliveries for their own driver members, the response was “they need to be punished for speaking in favor of decertification.”

In summary, labor union membership has dropped over the years because in today’s mobile society, workers don’t need the “protection” that union membership may have provided at one time. If they aren’t treated fairly at their current company, they can easily move to another.

The union claims that the reason they need “no-vote unionization” is that companies have too much ability to harass and intimate workers in a pre-election campaign. I can tell you from personal experience that unions are free to promise and threaten almost anything while management can neither threaten or promise anything.

Unionization without a secret ballot is just a bad idea. I hope my experience proves helpful in convincing enough of your fellow Senators that this bad idea should never come to a vote.”

Don’t forget to click here and drop a note to your two Senators, telling them not to support this boneheaded bill.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • TX Teamster says:

    That’s just one story from the management side. Wait til one of them clowns gets written up for being late or cant get time off to go to a funeral or take their kids to the Dr – gues who they’ll come crying to? That’s right – the Teamsters. Card check is coming, it’s good for the workers, the ones that do the hard work, not the CEO’s who bank millions and wont provide healthcare.