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Union-busting at Vallourec in the USA

28 March, 2013Local management at Vallourec & Mannesmann (V&M) Star tube plant in the USA have been employing union-busting tactics against members of IndustriALL affiliate the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

Last year workers within V&M tubes plant in Ohio, which is a Vallourec Group Company, contacted the UE for assistance in organizing a union. Immediately management began confronting unionized workers and interfering in union activity.

A supervisor in the plant directly threatened a pro-union leader by implying that he would lose his job if he continued. This is not the sort of behaviour expected of a company with whom IndustriALL Global Union has signed a Global Framework Agreement. In the agreement, Vallourec explicitly recognized the right of all its employees to be or become members of a trade union and to participate in collective negotiations.

Vallourec management hired a union-busting consultant, M. Vanetti, of Vantage Point Alliance and the Labor Relations Institute. On his public LinkedIn profile, Vanetti boasts of his skills in maintaining union free work environments. The Labor Relations Institute famously offers a “Guaranteed Winner Package” meaning that if it cannot block workers’ efforts to form a union, the company does not pay. Vanetti has held captive-audience meetings at the plant, at which he has allegedly dispensed disinformation about unions.

IndustriALL Global Union has sent a letter to Vallourec President Philippe Crouzet expressing concern over the anti-union behaviour of the company. “We expect Vallourec to take a position of neutrality towards attempts to organize a union. Hiring a professional union-buster is not neutrality. We expect that Vallourec will cease these actions and allow the workers to make their own decisions.”