“Union” Is A Dirty Word

I signed up on an email list outside of work for the proposed company union, and I got my first newsletter. I did it more out of genuine curiosity than anything else. Management appears to be extremely defensive and on edge about the whole deal. Their knee jerk reaction to a union here has been entirely overboard. Of course I find that to be amusing since they’re getting so spun up about it. A feature news article in the local paper from management’s perspective, denouncing the whole union idea is probably in the works right now. I’d bet fifty bucks on that. Anyway here’s the union organizer’s email. The guy made some good points in my opinion.


Hi all,

Why form a union (or a Bill and Dave’s US employee association that can include managers)?

To help keep employees informed on the facts when Bill and Dave’s company spins the facts in coffee talks. It’s probably true that the % of employees who feel appreciated increased…the folks who had received their WFM notices have exited since the last survey!

Why didn’t HR just tell the truth that about half feel appreciated and half DO NOT? They could have recognized there is a widespread problem and they were working to fix it rather than “celebrate” the improvement! Is this the corporation you want?

Check the bulletin boards in the cafeteria for a reprint of the interim employee survey. It’s restricted company information, so I can’t forward it via email. I’m disappointed that in our management coffee talk yesterday, they tried to spin the employee survey results as being positive. They noted the percentages of employees feeling appreciated as being an “improvement”. They should be ashamed of the numbers, and should have told us the detailed percentages instead of just stating that the results improved! Were they trying to convince us that the people who don’t feel appreciated are in the minority? Wrong!

FYI, security seems to be taking down my fliers about the employee association. They can do that legally, so I am pushed to linking details about it to the union question. I still think a union might not be necessary (unless your group is being laid off soon), but an U.S. employee association is a *must* to give Bill and Dave’s company a heart and a conscience again. Our conscience died with Bill and Dave. An employee association could act as ombudsman to prevent injustices like those in the attached “Bill and Dave’s in the news” pdf. Of course, why not have a union too? Bill and Dave’s company has unions in Germany, Singapore, Japan, and Brazil. Even Rohde and Schwarz has a union, and they only make one product outside Germany. Its hard to understand why we would be uncompetitive by having an U.S. employee union.

Please forward to your colleagues at other Bill and Dave’s company sites and help spread the word. Make sure we don’t have regrets in 10 years for lack of action today!

Best regards,

John R.


~ by factorypeasant on June 22, 2007.

2 Responses to ““Union” Is A Dirty Word”

  1. Part of management’s strategy is to appear overly nice to the workers (during an organizing campaign) in the hopes that interest in a representation will decrease. Calling a captive audience meeting a “management coffee talk” is a perfect example of how shameless they can be.

  2. Bob- you are correct, they will be kind as hell. managers have everything to lose and nothing to gain from a union organization effort especially when that effort is partially to bring those managers under some level of control. in this case it was to try and halt US employee job losses from being offshored to asia.

    if you aren’t familiar with Bill and Dave’s company you wouldn’t know that our management communication meetings were called coffee talks. that was something the company’s two founders came up with early on and it became part of our company’s culture. it was always supposed to be a casual, relaxed way for us to get together and keep up on current business affairs.

    i should also explain the WFM acronym. WFM was corporate-speak for ‘you’re laid off’. it stands for Work Force Management. gotta love semantics.
    anyway, i’ll have more coming up shortly on how *nice* our leadership was concerning the proposed union…

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