Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a “company union” to compete with the independent union

Despite an agreement conciliated by the Labor Department last July 27 in which Lakepower Converter Inc. promised to respect freedom of association, management has continued to interfere in their workers’ right to unionize. While before, management was intimidating workers not to join or support the independent union, now Lakepower is promoting the formation of a company union.

Union officers learned just after the conciliation meeting on July 27 that managers, supervisors and line leaders started signing up workers for a new union on the very day of the agreement.

The next day, the union president talked to the human resources manager to resolve this new case of interference in the freedom of association. The HR manager denied any knowledge and no action was taken. Thus managers, supervisors and line leaders continued talking to workers and getting signatures of support for the company union for the succeeding days.

On July 31, in a meeting called by the Labor Department to deliberate on the petition of the independent union to be certified as the collective bargaining representative of workers, Lakepower motioned through its lawyer that the petition cannot be granted since another union has been formed.

No representative of the alleged union however appeared in the meeting. It was only Lakepower’s lawyer who spoke on behalf of what is obviously a company union. The lawyer even knew that the union was a local of a federation called "NWB" or commonly known as "Brotherhood.” The lawyer also stated that NWB had filed a union registration and a petition for certification elections last July 28. Such detailed knowledge reveals management’s hand in the formation of the company union in connivance with the NWB.

The independent union countered the motion of Lakepower’s lawyer on the ground that management is only a bystander in the proceedings and is only called upon to submit the list of employees for purposes of ascertaining the majority status of the independent union. Lakepower however did not submit the required list of employees thus leading to further delay in the proceedings.

Lakepower's lawyer motioned for the Labor Department to summon the NWB to the rescheduled hearing on August 4. The independent union opposed this once more as Lakepower is a mere bystander who cannot intervene in the proceedings. Again this only exposes the true character of the company union promoted by Lakepower management as a maneuver to subvert freedom of association.

The facts cited above transpired in the proceedings of the conference called by Labor Department last July 31 and the minutes of the meeting reflect the pertinent details.

The formation of a company union, meaning a workers organization that is dominated by the employer, is a prohibited act under Section 2 of the ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining.

The independent union of workers at Lakepower demands that management to stop acts constituting interference in the workers right to organize and desist from promoting the formation of a company union. Specifically, managers, supervisors and line leaders must immediately cease from signing up workers for a company union.

The independent union is calling upon the big electronics companies that source from Lakepower to uphold their supplier codes of conduct and remediate the freedom of association violations in order to safeguard workers’ rights. ###

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