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How Intimidating Workers Works

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Gawker has acquired a 20-minute tape of a Georgia trucking company trying to convince workers not to join a union. This is a window into the day-to-day employer intimidation of workers’ organizing. Sometimes it can be hard power, sometimes soft. These managers were not threatening workers (at least not in the part I listened to). But they did have a captive audience to talk about the evils of unions. When Republicans complain about Obama naming NLRB members who are biased toward unions, it’s a joke precisely because they are totally fine with this kind of thing. Do unions get captive audiences inside the plant? No. This is how union campaigns are defeated. An important story and many kudos to Gawker for running it. Here’s an excerpt from the write-up:

Truck drivers at the Duluth, GA facility of the multinational storage company Iron Mountain are considering unionizing. This is a recording of a recent meeting in which two Iron Mountain managers “educate” the employees about the downside of a union. (The link was sent out last night to an email list of labor journalists.) Its content is not especially outrageous—its value lies in the fact that it offers a full look at one of the many little stumbling blocks that go along with any workplace’s attempt to organize.

“This is the South. This is not something where unions are [prevalent],” says one manager. “If the union comes in, it will make it much more difficult to get things done.” When the other manager addresses the employees, he says of their union campaign, “I can’t help but take it personally… it does hurt. It does sting.”

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