Siemens signs deal promoting union rights, then goes after workers who signed too

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Workers who signed affiliation cards with a union in the US have become targets of the company’s anti-union philosophy.

Managers at Siemens’ Maryland plant last month put their names to a global framework agreement agreeing to respect a workers’ right to join a union.

The agreement states that “Members of employee organisations or unions will be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged on account of their membership.”

But the United Steel Workers’ Union accuses managers of already reneging on the deal after employees received a letter from the company’s director of operations saying: “Siemens does not believe a union is in the best interest of our employees here in North East.

“The reason is two-fold: Unions haven’t delivered on their promises and unionised employers can have difficulty being competitive in today’s global economy.”

The company has launched a full-blown union-busting campaign, hiring anti-union consultant Ken Cannon, who advertises “40 years of experience supporting managements’ efforts to remain union free.”

Cannon has been conducting meetings with employees at which he has told them that he is making $1,000 per day, some $173,000 per year and does not need the money, but does this work for fun.

He told the employees he wins all of his campaigns and has never had an unfair labour practice filed against him.

He told the employees he will be there for the next 30 to 45 days, going around the plant to talk to them one-on-one.

Cannon has told some employees that “if you don’t agree with the union, they will fire you.”

USW International President Leo W. Gerard said: “This is a classic union-busting operation. It is completely inconsistent with the company’s stated principles and with International Labor Organization Conventions as well as U.S. law.”

The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tyre and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.

 


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