Impediments to Effective Worker Voice in the Private Sector (i) Captive Audience Meetings (ii) Lack of Remedies and First Contracts (iii) Permanent Replacements and the Illusory Right to Strike C.
This paper begins by focusing on three of the more significant impediments to effective workplace representation under the Wagner model in the private sector workplace: the use of captive audience meetings by employers to intimidate and coerce employees during organizing campaigns; the lack of meaningful remedies for violations of the NLRA (including the lack of a method for forcing first collective agreements); and the increasing use of permanent replacements for strikers, with a corresponding decrease in the use of the strike weapon.
(34) This section of the paper focuses on three specific problems that have significantly undermined worker rights under that model: the use of captive audience meetings and other coercive employer tactics which interfere with employee free choice; the lack of meaningful remedies, including the lack of any authority to impose a first collective agreement; and the increasing use of permanent replacement workers during strikes.
I have maintained earlier that captive audience meetings amount to coercive conduct in derogation of the employee right to organize and that they should be sanctioned as an unfair labour practice under section 8(a)(1) of the Act.
One of the reasons why captive audience meetings have proven so effective for employers is the extensive time they have to use that tactic: a union organizing campaign is likely to run from four to eight weeks.
(114) Attendance at captive audience meetings is compelled: Employees must listen to anti-union speeches or face termination.
In Livingston Shirt Co., (131) decided a few years after the free speech amendment was enacted, the Board departed from earlier holdings and held that employers were allowed to hold captive audience meetings in violation of their own no-solicitation rules without allowing union organizers comparable rights to communicate with employees during work time.
Barring Employers' Captive Audience Meetings and Protecting Worker Expression
Prohibiting captive audience meetings in no way would trammel employers' speech rights, even under an autonomy version of the First Amendment.
Union busting is business as usual: 25 percent of companies fire one or more workers for union activity during union campaigns, 75 percent hire on anti-union consultants, 92 percent force employees to attend captive audience meetings
, and 52 percent threaten to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service if the union drive involves undocumented immigrants, according to Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages, and Union Organizing, a 2000 study by Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University.
Union organizers fear that such efforts may come in the form of mandatory office-wide meetings, led by management, that Kelemen calls "captive audience meetings
." She said that South County management has already held one office-wide meeting recently, but said that it "wasn't confrontational."
Another company provided statistics in a captive audience meeting
on the average wage of a Mexican auto worker, the average wage of their U.S.