In October, Bethlehem-based company Hygrade Components hired the services of Strategic Labor Consulting Group to conduct a union-busting campaign targeted at “skilled metal workers” attempting to join the United Steel Workers. The controversial move, unfortunately, proved successful as the union election failed, sparking concerns over the tactics employed during the campaign.
Anti-union persuaders, such as Strategic Labor Consulting Group, often resort to coercive strategies like captive audience meetings, one-on-one sessions, and surveillance to discourage union drives. While the union-busting campaign achieved its objectives, red flags have emerged surrounding the consultant’s activities and compliance with federal law.
Under the Labor Management Relations and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), firms engaged in union-busting activities are legally obligated to disclose the nature of their activities and the terms and conditions of their contract to the U.S. Department of Labor within 30 days of being hired. This disclosure requirement is designed to ensure transparency and provide workers and the public with access to essential information leading up to a union election.
However, Strategic Labor Consulting Group failed to comply with this rule, submitting their disclosure almost a month late and after the union election had concluded. This timing rendered the information nearly useless to workers and the public who were entitled to know crucial details beforehand.
Additionally, the consulting firm neglected to disclose the terms and conditions of their contract with Hygrade Components. However, we do know that Strategic Labor Consulting Group was paid “$400/hr; $55 per diem on travel days, $70 per diem all other days.”
Furthermore, Strategic Labor Consulting Group did not disclose the specific union they were targeting during the campaign. These lapses in disclosure have prompted LaborLab to file a complaint against the consulting group for violating the disclosure rules outlined in the LMRDA, which are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The allegations underscore the critical importance of transparency in the lead-up to a union election. Workers and the public have a right to access information that can impact the democratic process of unionization, and any violation of these disclosure rules raises concerns about the fairness and legality of union-busting campaigns.