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JCI is famous!!! in the National Post today!!

Talk here about issues with unions or companies in the Automotive sector.
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JCI is famous!!! in the National Post today!!

Postby NC » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:10 am

Top-down unionism

Mark Milke
Financial Post


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Out-of-town friends and relatives are great as summer guests, provided you first invite them. Surprise visitors and cranky Uncle Harry who insulted your spouse last time he was in town don't count as pleasant dinnertime companions.

That unpleasant predicament is the situation 400 non-union workers find themselves in at the Johnson Controls International (JCI) plant in Orangeville, Ont. The employees, who manufacture car seats for Daimler-Chrysler, have continually resisted attempts by the Canadian Autoworkers Union to invite themselves in courtesy of the employer. It's not clear whether the CAW, resisted again in late May, will finally give up or once again show up to the employees' "dinner."

The problem for Orangeville employees started last September when a unionized sister plant in Whitby almost went on strike. To prevent that, JCI's head office in Milwaukee cut a deal with the union to designate the Orangeville plant as "union." It was, the CAW first claimed to employees, a "voluntary recognition agreement," as in voluntarily recognized by the company and the union only, but binding on employees.

In early September, employees were forced to show up to a paid, captive audience session to listen to union representatives. There, they were told by the CAW's Hemi Metic that if they didn't back his union, he would "personally see to it" that Orangeville employees would never get another contract with Daimler-Chrysler.

Question for the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the union-biased Dalton McGuinty Liberals: What's the difference between an employer threatening closure (if employees unionize) or if the union threatens closure (if employees don't unionize)? Answer: Companies can be automatically certified by the OLRB in the first scenario while in the second, unions can try again some other day.

Despite the Metic threat, some employees collected enough signatures to decertify the imposed union. At an OLRB hearing in October, only then were they told that the agreement was not, in fact, a "binding voluntary recognition agreement."

Contrary to initial union and company propaganda, only if employees voted for a CAW-negotiated contract could their plant then be unionized. (After nine months, staff have yet to see the CAW-employer agreement.) Orangeville staff had not already been automatically unionized, as would have occurred under a voluntary recognition agreement and as employees had been led to believe.

Between last September's "hint" from the CAW's Metic and the first vote this past February, Johnson Controls gave the CAW's bargaining committee members two days off the line with pay to drum up support for the agreement. Such a privilege was not offered to those who opposed forced unionization.

One employee who recently spoke with me told me that scare tactics were also employed. Workers were told by bargaining committee members that if the union wasn't certified, their car seats might be damaged by CAW employees at the destination Chrysler plant in Bramalea. They were also informed no other wage increases would be forthcoming from the company if the CAW contract wasn't approved.

That employee notes that in eight years of non-union employment, she's seen wage increases of $11 per hour and other benefits, such as reimbursed gym memberships and an open-door policy. The CAW-negotiated contract would provide for a 1% wage increase, which would amount to a wash after $672 in new union dues were taken off employee's paycheques. Many employees would see a net decrease in their take-home pay.

But if most employees would end up with less than if they received the same wage increase without the union presence, the union's bargaining committee has its own stake in Orangeville's unionization. The first proposed contract included a super seniority clause where, in the event of layoffs, bargaining committee members would be the last to go, even if they were very recent hires, which some are.

In late February, the Orangeville workers rejected the CAW contract with 163 votes against it, 154 in favour and 83 abstentions. In late March, some union supporters revoked their cards, signifying what should have been the end of the company-union-OLRB imposed forced affiliation affair.

But like creepy house guests who won't take the hint, the union's negotiating committee demanded a second vote this month and the labour board approved. The vote was to take place in late May until Orangeville's non-union supporters got wind of it. They then organized against the newest top-down attempt and the CAW has temporarily cancelled the vote. But given union persistence, Orangeville employees can likely expect another effort foisted on them without warning.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove often muses on how democratic the CAW is. He has also denied his union ever practises top-down tactics. He should tell it to the JCI employees in Orangeville, triangulated as they were (and are) by the CAW, their U.S.-based employer and the labour board.

The problem of forced unionization persists because Ontario's labour legislation (as in other provinces) allows organized labour and companies to treat employees as mere pawns in their political chess games. Employees not interested in unionization must fight against the company, the CAW and their usual phalanx of activists and lawyers. It's hardly a fair fight. (In the case of Orangeville employees, the CAW was also given a list of all the employees' personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers. So much for privacy.)

Insofar as Ontario's current labour law allows top-down organizing, it is undemocratic. It is also anything but respectful of worker's privacy, autonomy or labour rights.
© National Post 2006


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Postby dante666 » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:53 am

Wow...... :shock:

Good Article.

Stand Firm for what you Belive Employee's of JCI!

Don't let any group force themselves on you!!


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Re: National Post article JCI/CAW..

Postby mariahvp » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:36 pm

It was impressed to see the National Post article on Johnson Controls.
This article has been circulating around the plant like wildfire.
Any copies posted in the Cafeteria have been torn down...but this hasn't prevented circulation.
I have been encouraging other employees to visit this website and state their opinions... so hopefully we can get some discussions going.
I have heard the comment from one union supporter that "Hemi Metic was misquoted in this article". I believe Mr. Metic was quoted quite accurately...because I for one was taking notes during the September meeting when this comment was made...It is a Direct Quote. You can't dispute the accuracy of the truth when there was 200+ witnesses in the room when this comment was made. I know there are several midnight team members who will verify that Hemi Metic also made similar threats during their meeting.


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Postby NC » Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:53 pm

I have finally got the time to sit and read up a bit about the claims this article makes, as well as the CAW squirming about Metic’s boner, as I have come to think of it. The guy who wrote the did a great job, he writes:
Question for the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the union-biased Dalton McGuinty Liberals: What's the difference between an employer threatening closure (if employees unionize) or if the union threatens closure (if employees don't unionize)? Answer: Companies can be automatically certified by the OLRB in the first scenario while in the second, unions can try again some other day.
In the Bill 144 changes to the Ontario Labour Code, great hew and outcry was made about a clause that has really always been there, just not quite as clearly. He is right, if the employer does bad things the employees can get a union rammed down their throats and then have to wait years to try and decertify it.

It is the employer that should get hammered for being bad, not the employees – they should still get a vote. But look at what happens for the union that breaks the law, their application might get tossed and they get blocked from reapplying for a year, but then they can try again – that is not the same as being unionized and having to decertify. That section is what comes into play here:
Remedy of contravention by trade union, etc.
11.1 (1) Subsection (2) applies where a trade union, council of trade unions or person acting on behalf of a trade union or council of trade unions contravenes this Act and, as a result, the true wishes of the employees in the bargaining unit were not likely reflected in a representation vote. 2005, c. 15, s. 2.
Same
(2) In the circumstances described in subsection (1), on the application of an interested person, the Board may, despite subsection 10 (1),
(a) order that another representation vote be taken and do anything to ensure that the representation vote reflects the true wishes of the employees in the bargaining unit; or
(b) dismiss the application for certification if no other remedy would be sufficient to counter the effects of the contravention. 2005, c. 15, s. 2.
Considerations
(3) On an application made under this section, the Board may consider,
(a) the results of a previous representation vote; and
(b) whether the trade union appears to have membership support adequate for the purposes of collective bargaining. 2005, c. 15, s. 2.
Bar to reapplying
(4) If the Board dismisses an application for certification under clause (2) (b), the Board shall not consider another application for certification by the trade union as the bargaining agent of any employee that was in the bargaining unit proposed in the original application until one year after the application is dismissed. 2005, c. 15, s. 2.
Same
(5) Despite subsection (4), the Board may consider an application for certification by the trade union as the bargaining agent for employees in a bargaining unit that includes an employee who was in the bargaining unit proposed in the original application if,
(a) the position of the employee at the time the original application was made was different from his or her position at the time the new application was made; and
(b) the employee would not have been in the bargaining unit proposed in the new application had he or she still been occupying the original position when the new application was made. 2005, c. 15, s. 2.


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GREAT NEW!!!!!!!

Postby mariahvp » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:43 pm

Great News....Today they called a plant meeting at JCI to announce that we would be getting a 1.25 % raise, plus a one dollar per month increase on our pension plans.
They told us that the CAW was not our representative because we had voted "No" to the contract in February.
The current wage increase has been bargained by our plant manager Domenic through his discussions with corporate.
They said the Bargaining committee would no Longer be recognized.
Domenic said if the employees invite the CAW back through signing cards, then that would be fine, but since we said "No" in February they would be respecting the majorities wishes.

I Think this "labour dispute" may very well be over! :D


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Postby NC » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:46 pm

Wahoo... the good guys won, finally!

Image

So how does it feel around the place?


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Postby JohnDoe » Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:02 pm

That's awsome Mariah! Congrats!


Have a great day everyone!

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Postby NC » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:56 am

Had the night to think on this:

I am so happy about this for you, I hope that that Milke guy used some of the content you had written on this site, and the what everyone else wrote.

I am sure I speak for everyone here when I say that we are proud to have been able to help you battle against huge foes like the CAW, JCI, Daimler Chrysler, and the Ontario Labour Relations Board all working against you.

Words of caution:

1) - Be sure you keep in mind that the CAW is not going to just go away and be quiet about this. Be sure you let everyone know to pay bloody attention when someone hands you something to sign. Be ready with ammo if CAW goes for cards for a regular cert.

2) - Is Daimler Chrysler going to pull the work from the JCI plant, like the CAW threatened? Keep the evidence of the CAW threat to close you down if you didn't unionize - like your notes from the meetings and anyone else who has notes or have some nght shift people write it down.
Hemi's threat and the action of that CAW Local in their Newsletter sure look like a violation of section 11.1 the Ontario LR Act.

Maybe you guys should write Daimler and the CAW and put them on notice that there will be legal action if anything happens and encourage Daimler to stop selling out others to solve their problems in the US.


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The CAW's Demise...

Postby mariahvp » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:19 pm

I am remaining cautiously optimistic about the CAW's demise.
Desperate people often resort to desperate measures...So
I fully anticipate that the CAW will attempt to take JCI to OLRB and scream unfair labour practices saying that JCI gave us a raise to Not Join the CAW....But this expectation also comes from not knowing what happened behind the scenes to prompt JCI to Finally doing the "right thing".

The Union Guys are either in Major denial, or they are being fed quite a line of bunk from their superiors at the CAW. The word on the Plant floor today was "The Union has 200 signed cards".
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the Union really had 200 signed cards (50%) then they Would have been completely successful at forcing JCI back to the Bargaining table (Which they were Not). I think this is wishful thinking on their part, but only time will tell.
Also there were more people today that revoked their Union cards. (I realize this is a formality now, but I think it's a great idea. It makes the message to the Union Clear, if they would learn to take a hint.)

As for the evidence file..Believe me it is thick. There are tons of people willing to write signed sworn affidavits with regard to: what was said in the meetings, what they were told by Bargaining committee members etc.
I printed off all my documents recently and it took an entire bundle of computer paper...I have also maintained a log book. Plus there were written statements that we took to the Labour board in October, and several others have been taking notes.

Last night after work, and today I had sooo many people giving me encouraging words...I would like to thank Everyone for all there support and help they have given to ending this.

I am also aware of the people that are sour, and bitter. I apologize to these people for "upsetting your apple cart". But Let me ask this...If these People are so convinced Union Plants are better then why aren't they getting those resumes out there? There are plenty of Unionized companies out there..if that is what you want then go for it! The most Awesome thing is you can count the angry people!! You guys think you are the Majority...well take an Honest look around you!! Most of us are Happy to be Union Free! :)


mariahvp


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