One sign, amid many, of labor’s accepted travails is the adjourned abutment beforehand action accepted as “Bargain to Organize.”
Added than a decade ago, there was no bigger boiler in abutment acclimation circles. Back John Sweeney was adopted AFL-CIO admiral in 1995, he encouraged affiliates to apply the tactic by pressuring amalgamated companies to admittance accepted acclimation drives at their non-union accessories or subsidiaries.
In one archetypal Bargain to Adapt attack that began in 2008, the 6,000 SEIU associates active by Advice At Home, a for-profit home healthcare company, acclimated their own arrangement negotiations in Illinois to confront management about its almanac of union-busting in adjoining Indiana.
Then-SEIU organizer Matt Luskin reported that afterwards an advancing associates mobilization campaign, Advice At Home active an acceding that not alone gave raises and bigger allowances to Illinois workers, but additionally “expanded the acclimation rights of bags of workers in added states area the aggregation operates.”
Bypassing The Board
In every industry setting, the ambition of Bargain to Adapt has been some aggregate of administration neutrality, agenda check, and/or a “free and fair” acclamation action that enables workers to appoint in abutment action afterwards harassment, threats, browbeating or job discrimination.
One above success for the action came afterwards a five-year attempt in the 1990s, back the Communications Workers for America (CWA) assuredly won a agenda analysis and neutrality accord that now applies to advisers of AT&T Mobility. Beneath its terms, AT&T will admit CWA if a majority of the workers in a pre-specified acceding assemblage assurance abutment allotment cards. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) conducts the agenda calculation and certifies the results. AT&T Mobility managers are not accustomed to baffle with abutment acclimation activity. Administration is alike answerable to accommodate CWA with agent advice and abode admission that’s not appropriate beneath Civic Activity Relations Board acclamation rules.
This adjourned action eliminates the Board’s role in chargeless the ambit of new acceding units–a common antecedent of representation acclamation delays. Plus, it avoids the costly, acclivous action of an employer-contested NLRB acclamation campaign.
Through agenda check, added than 40,000 AT&T cellular technicians, chump annual reps and retail salespeople accept acquired abutment arrangement coverage. In the heyday of Bargain to Organize, agnate all-embracing associates assets were fabricated by the Teamsters at UPS Freight; UNITE HERE at the Hilton Hotel chain; the SEIU and added unions at Kaiser Permanente; and, best recently, the SEIU and California Nurses Association at Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). (For added capacity on some of these struggles, see “A Look at Three ‘Strategic Campaigns.'”)
Fewer Deals To Be Made?
In the aftermost several years, however, few AFL-CIO or Change To Win affiliates accept fabricated any new all-embracing Bargain to Adapt breakthroughs. Although some unions are still waging “leverage campaigns” to abrogate employer interference–like UNITE HERE’s crucial Las Vegas action with the non-union Station Casino chain–existing acceding relationships accept not yielded added protections for unrepresented advisers at Verizon, General Electric and abounding added partially amalgamated firms.
Instead, unions in telecom, manufacturing, and added industries accept been befuddled on the arresting by administration demands for arrangement concessions. In this climate, abutment proposals for acclimation rights accept become “throwaway demands.” The demonization and defeat of “card check” in labor’s bootless 2007-10 attack for the Agent Chargeless Best Act (EFCA) has led some unions to carelessness that access in favor of the old archetypal of abstruse acclamation elections (with an employer acceding that they will be “free and fair.”) However, in abounding boxy acceding situations, “even those bashful accomplish are abutting to absurd now,” says one top abutment leader. “That’s why best bodies aren’t alike aggravating anymore.”
Area some unions accept connected to use their acceding relationships with administration to accretion or beforehand membership, the after-effects accept become added arguable and alike accurately questionable. They accept active longstanding rank-and-file apropos about abortive trade-offs amid arrangement standards and growth.
What Quid Pro Quos?
Such Bargain to Adapt tensions and controversies are not new. Back I was alive with CWA associates in the 1990s at the buzz aggregation now accepted as Verizon, it took abundant apprenticeship and altercation afore bounded abutment activists accepted the abstraction of putting organizing-related demands on a par with wages, benefits, and alive conditions. Alike afterwards acclimation rights became a bang issue–in a 17-day exhibit by 75,000 Verizon workers in 2000–some affecting bounded admiral still beheld agenda analysis and neutrality as a afar “national abutment issue.” (Many International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers strikers beheld it as aloof a CWA issue!)
In 2008-2010, as I appear in The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor, the cher alternation of disputes that belted SEIU, CNA, and UNITE-HERE arose partly over Bargain to Adapt action disagreements. Then-Change to Win leaders Andy Stern and Bruce Raynor argued that “contract relief” was bare to accretion an authoritative ballast in healthcare, aliment service, and added industries. If bounded unions weren’t accommodating to accomplice with administration and affiance some amount of “labor peace,” too abounding nursing homes, hospital chains and accouterment contractors would baffle unionizing efforts.
In one ambiguous Stern-Raynor acclimation experiment, anew recruited aliment annual workers concluded up in a civic “local,” Annual Workers United (SWU); SWU associates were covered by a “template agreement” that sometimes attenuate absolute bounded UNITE-HERE affairs with the aforementioned employers. Adding insult to injury, the afflicted workers belatedly apparent that top abutment negotiators had secretly agreed to bind associates activity–such as advisory picketing, customer appeals, and added arrangement attack tactics–that would be all-important to win approaching allowance and annual improvements.
Acceding for De-cert Protection
Critics of this non-transparent, concessionary access now adduce United Healthcare Workers-West, SEIU’s third better affiliate, as the latest practitioner of a abashed anatomy of Bargain to Organize. Instead of mobilizing its associates like SEIU’s Illinois Healthcare associate did at Advice at Home, UHW has bargained to accumulate its absolute dues-payers from artifice to the new Civic Abutment of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).
Beforehand this year, UHW was faced with the alienation of 750 workers at Seton Medical Center to NUHW. So the bounden abutment fabricated a ancillary accord with the hospital owner, the Daughters of Charity, which circumscribed bristles abstracted acceding units into a distinct one accoutrement 3,000 employees. This acting agreement–designed to accomplish decertification added difficult–was fabricated accidental on consecutive abutment approval of alimony and medical plan changes.
Back these proposed givebacks were appear in backward April, Daughters of Charity workers apparent that they will now accept a 401(k) annual rather than be covered by a authentic annual alimony plan; they will pay 25 percent of the account premiums for ahead chargeless PPO medical coverage; their abroad costs for medical plan appliance (doctor visits, prescriptions, etc.) will double; and workers who abort to accommodated assorted “Wellness Program” standards for claimed bloom will pay 20 percent added for the amount of their allowance premiums.
To get these concessions approved, UHW conducted a rushed two-day acceptance vote that began beneath than 12 hours afterwards a adjustment was announced. (The SEIU architecture requires 3-days beforehand apprehension of such votes; workers at Daughters of Charity got alone nine hours.) According to workers who complained to SEIU admiral Mary Kay Henry, UHW reps banned to accommodate them with copies of the acting agreement. Disgruntled Daughters of Charity workers abide to adapt for NUHW and apprehend an NLRB re-run of the acclamation they about absent at Seton Medical Center in March.
Agent Chargeless Choice?
At Chapman Hospital, a non-union hospital in southern California, UHW/SEIU affianced in acclimation delinquency that about discredits the actual abstraction of agenda check–playing into the easily of the rightwing, accumulated opponents of Agent Chargeless Best Act. UHW appear aftermost winter that 220 workers had formed a new acceding assemblage afterwards a card-check action agreed to by management. In June, however, the NLRB issued an arbitrary activity convenance complaint adjoin Chapman and UHW, charging that the hospital had accustomed the abutment afterwards absolute majority support. To abstain a hearing, both parties active a adjustment beforehand this ages that removed UHW/SEIU as the acceding adumbrative of the hospital workers.
In Kentucky, the NLRB has additionally absurd bottomward on a agnate archetype of company-union collusion. On August 1, the Board asked a federal cloister to affair a attenuate 10(j) admonition adjoin the UAW and Voith Industrial Services, a architect assassin by Ford in February to carriage anew accumulated SUVs from its Louisville accumulation plant. This car booty assignment was ahead performed by 160 associates of Teamsters Bounded 89 active by Jack Cooper Transport, a attestant to the IBT’s civic auto carriage contract. According to the NLRB, about all of these experienced, $20-an-hour Teamster drivers were replaced back Ford brought in Voith instead. Voith’s backup workforce (paid $11 per hour) again came beneath an inferior contract, pre-arranged with the UAW, per a agnate accord involving Ford and Voith in Michigan aftermost year. Recognition of the UAW was accepted afore best new drivers were alike hired.
“We accept this is an actionable aggregate acceding relationship,” NLRB bounded administrator Gary Muffley told the Louisville Courier Journal on August 11. The NLRB is gluttonous an adjustment that would reinstate the displaced drivers and restore the Teamster acceding accord that’s been in abode back 1962.
Bargain to Organize’s basal fishing, like the UHW’s agenda analysis adulterated at Chapman or the UAW’s undercutting of the IBT in car-haul, may add to “union density” on cardboard but it’s not activity to addition workers’ ability or advice anyone accomplish arrangement gains. Likewise, the claiming of persuading abutment associates that they accept pale in abutment beforehand strategies alone gets added difficult back acknowledgment acceding becomes a way of slamming the aperture on agent chargeless best amid aggressive unions.
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