Obnoxiousness is a universal human trait. But for unions, it’s a tool of persuasion. Large employers, with good reason, are wary. A new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Hardball: The Tactics of Union Corporate Campaigns,” summarizes organized labor’s frequently aggressive, predatory shakedown tactics in the search to win concessions from supposedly morally errant employers. These campaigns, which seek to discredit a targeted firm’s brand name in hopes of winning concessions, involve extensive groundwork; these campaigns can last for years. Unions and their allies test the legal limits of protest, while raising the costs of business. Undeterred by reality, certain lawmakers on Capitol Hill, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are sponsoring bills to repeal safeguards against such behavior.
Corporate campaigns, by intent, make headlines. Their resolution can be far less dramatic. Such was the case with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ campaign against Smithfield Foods. Since 2006, the UFCW had been waging a full-fledged war against the company. Its picketing, boycotting, leafleting and media event-staging were the culmination of a 15-year effort to organize roughly 5,000 workers at its Tar Heel, N.C. pork processing plant, about an hour and a half’s drive south of Raleigh. The campaign became so intense (or abusive, depending on how one looks at it) that Smithfield last October filed a federal civil racketeering and extortion lawsuit against the union, accusing it of willfully disseminating misleading information designed to destroy the company’s stock price and sales. Now, suddenly, peace has broken out.
On Monday, October 27, Smithfield and the UFCW issued a joint statement indicating they had reached an out-of-court settlement. The statement … Read More ➡