13 September, 2012IndustriALL-affiliated United Steelworkers (USW) was not surprised by an unsuccessful workplace election at Siemens in North East, Maryland, USA, on 7 September. Siemens management had employed harsh bullying tactics pressuring workers to vote against the union, besmirching the international reputation of the company weeks after it became a global framework agreement partner with IndustriALL.
Committing a raft of breaches to the company’s commitments to workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, local Siemens management hired union-busting consultants to coordinate with management over a period of six weeks. Those commitments are also enforced by labour legislation in the US and the USW will pursue the legal case through the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB). A successful effort through the NLRB will result in the vote being overturned with a new election in the next few months.
The 7 September election, conducted by the NLRB, was lost 24 votes to 15, with 2 abstentions.
Every day in the build-up to the election “Siemens managers and consultants held daily captive audience meetings where workers were told that it would be futile to join the union and that the company would lose customers if the union won the election,” stated USW Organizer Phil Ornot:
The company removed union literature, prohibited workers from talking about the union, conducted surveillance of union supporters, withheld wage increases, circulated an anti-union petition, and denied Siemens employees from USW locals access to the plant. In its campaign to maintain dictatorial control over its workers, Siemens created a climate of fear and intimidation in the workplace.
IndustriALL stands with its affiliate, USW, as it continues efforts to organize Siemens workers in the US.
See a detailed earlier IndustriALL report on the anti-union efforts in Maryland here.