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The Campaign

Organizing campaigns vary in length. Some take months, some take years. The IATSE will remain committed as long as there are workers who remain interested. Once the employer knows that an organizing campaign is ongoing, you can expect that they will run a counter campaign. With an effective organizing committee, we will be able to quickly refute any misinformation that the employer uses to undermine your support. It is important to anticipate what your employer may do when they find out you’re organizing, so that you can withstand the onslaught.

Most employers are not particularly creative in conducting their anti-union campaigns. They rely on a few common tactics; all based on psychological warfare. This list comes from Jobs With Justice:

Seven Sophisticated Unionbuster Techniques

  • Supervisors as Frontline Soldiers: Supervisors, who themselves have no legally protected right to be represented by a union, are manipulated into delivering anti-union letters, speeches, and informal chats prepared by unionbusters, essentially doing the dirty work of the unionbusters and management.  
  • One-on-One Meetings: During organizing drives workers are often forced to attend closed-door or isolated meetings with supervisors. These aren’t friendly impromptu chats, but well-planned meetings to decipher employees’ feelings about the union and persuade them against the union. 
  • Captive Audience Meetings: So-called ‘captive audience’ meetings are held for employees during work hours to disseminate propaganda against union representation and to attempt to discredit the union. Employees are almost always required to attend, but union organizers may be intentionally disinvited. Often, the meetings are rigged so that workers who are already against the union are assigned to ask questions to sow misinformation.
  • Delay: Unionbusters often attempt to delay union representation elections by legal maneuvers so they have more time to implement other tactics needed to increase tension, dissension and the employer’s chance of winning the election.
  • Divide & Conquer: The unionbuster creates opportunities and crafts persuasive messages to make employees feel that there is a tense division among staff concerning the union election. They may go so far as to pit one group of employees against each other based on job classification, pay rate or any distinction between one part of the bargaining unit and another.
  • Letters, letters, letters: A unionbuster’s specialty is hammering out materials—be it cartoons, leaflets or management correspondence—to make the case against the union. This material can be posted on bulletin boards at work or mailed to your home.
  • Love Offerings: In order to convince employees that they don't need a union, unionbusters may advise clients to provide indirect bribes, like unexpected increases in wages or benefits or ‘feel good’ measures like free food and lottery tickets. Employers will plead that you are all “one big family” that can work out its problems without the interference of an outside third party.


What Employers May Not Do

Under Section 8(a) of the National Labor Relations Act, there are a number of actions that your employer and/or supervisors may not engage in, which constitute unfair labor practices (UPLs). These restrictions on the employer's conduct are designed to protect and preserve your right to join a union under Section 7.

Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA states that the employer may not "Interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed under Section 7."

Examples of 8(a)(1) violations include:

  1. Threatening to fire for union or concerted activity.
  2. Threatening to demote, reprimand, or punish in any way because of union activity.
  3. Conducting anti-union interrogations.
  4. Threatening to close or move the shop to escape the union.
  5. Threatening loss of benefits if the employees vote for the union.
  6. Promising benefits to employees in return for anti-union.
  7. Interfering with communication among employees or with attempts to organize by such means as unduly restrictive solicitation rules.
  8. Spying on union meetings.
  9. Granting benefits or wage increases timed to defeat union organization.
  10. Refusing to bargain in good faith with the union, once the union wins the election.


If you believe that your employer has committed any of these unfair labor practices, please contact us immediately.