So Much for Free Choice: Unions and Secret Pacts With Employers

by Michael Haberman on May 13, 2008 · 0 comments


I have written several times, as have other bloggers, about the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, an attempt at legislation that will take away the right for employees to select, by secret ballot, whether or not they wish to be represented by a union. Well here is another tactic by the unions to erode that right even further. On the front page of the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal the following headline “Unions Forge Secret Pacts With Major Employers”. The first paragraph of the article reads “Two of the nation’s largest labor unions have struck confidential agreements with large employers that give the companies the right to designate which of their locations, and how many workers, the unions can seek to organize.”

The unions are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), (the AFLCIO breakaway) and Unite Here. The employers are Sodexho, Inc. and Compass Group USA. The agreements go beyond neutrality agreements (organizing attempts that the employers do not dispute) and there is a selection process between the company and the union on which locations can organize and which cannot. Thus, the unions and the employers decide who has the right to belong to the union and not the employees themselves. These agreements have been criticized and the question has been asked what the trade-off is. Well the trade-off is that the unions get to increase their membership without dispute and the companies get the unions to agree to not strike. Sounds good? Maybe for the unions, maybe for the employer, but not for the employee! The employees do not get to decide if they want to organize, they do not get to have a say by secret ballot, and if they are organized they cannot strike if they so desire.

Makes you wonder whose side the union is on doesn’t it? Well I have always said that a union today is just a business and they make their money off of dues. If they can increase their membership and hence their revenue by making secret deals they will do so even if it does not benefit the employees. The businesses who are entering into these agreements are probably trying to limit their damages, thinking they would probably have been organized at sometime anyway (which means they probably deserve a union). So they get to pick who gets oranized and who doesn’t. But they are not thinking in the best interests of their employees either.

So the unions gain, the companies gain and the employees lose. What a great system.

Be Sociable, Share!

Sign up for free HR Solutions updates via email

Omega HR Solutions, Inc. uses creative human resource solutions to provide answers to time, money and service issues with employers and their employees. Visit our Products and Services page for more information or contact us to learn how we can help your organization.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andres May 14, 2008 at 11:11 am

Nice post. When I read that article in WSJ I was struck by the same thought. It’s win-win-lose, with the employee as the loser. The only possible hope to this disturbing trend is that someone with standing (a non-union, non-management employee?) brings it to the NLRB or into the courts. Not likely … but I don’t see any other solution on the horizon.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: