Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

“This isn’t about a union, it’s about our freedom to vote”

We’ve mentioned, several times, the campaign by United Food and Commercial Workers union officials trying to get new members by running an anti-corporate smear campaign against a meatpacking company called Smithfield. The campaign has included filing dubious charges with the federal government and going to any length to make sure workers don’t get a personal, private vote (overseen by the government, no less) on whether they have to join the union.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that 3,000 Smithfield employees have sent letters to the union bosses asking for an election. Of course, no sooner did those letters hit the mailbox than the UFCW bosses replied, It must be coercion! Of course, the real story is quite different.

One employee who signed a letter said:

“I made it known that I was concerned about what was going on in the plant and about my co-workers,” said Morgan, who has worked at Smithfield for five years. “I asked if there was anything else I could do. This isn’t about a union, it’s about our freedom to vote.”

An interesting tidbit followed, with the paper reporting: “Morgan declined to say whether he would vote for a union, but he said he has felt increased pressure by union representatives.” The fact that an election would allow this employee to have a vote without disclosing his preference is the heart of this issue — union bosses just don’t want a process where they don’t get to coerce employees right at the point of decision.