Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Columnist: Why UNITE HERE assault is ‘failed campaign’

We’ve discussed before the anti-democratic campaign to unionize companies without letting employees vote — in fact, we just had an op-ed published on the subject. Among all union officials, those leading UNITE HERE have to be among the absolute worst offenders when it comes to employee rights. And one of UNITE HERE’s worst campaigns is the one against Cintas, which makes uniforms. Some more details come from the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Peter Bronson, who reports:

Unite (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) has been trying to wedge a foot in the door at Cintas since 2003. Unable to get enough worker support to force an election, Unite wants to skip the customary secret-ballot and force 17,000 Cintas workers to join the union and pay dues. But Cintas and its workers have said no thanks. 

Bronson also talked to the company’s chief executive, Scott Farmer, and writes:

Unite copied license numbers from Cintas workers in Pennsylvania, to snoop in personal information and harass them at home. The union has been ordered to pay the workers $2,500 each. Unite also published a false press release that caused Cintas stock to drop $300 million, according to a defamation suit by Cintas that is going to trial in Warren County court.

“For four-and-a-half years now our people have heard it all,” Farmer said. “The union is not going anywhere, but I consider it a failed campaign.”

For every “sweatshop” accusation from Unite, there are dozens of Cintas workers who like their jobs and want no part of a union. Many have signed petitions asking Unite to stop harassing them.

It’s worth remembering that this isn’t about Scott Farmer, or Cintas. It’s about the employees and their right to work for a company that the union isn’t trying to shut down. It’s about the employees’ right to vote on whether they want to join the union.

Categories: Center for Union FactsUNITE HERE