Impetus for Amalgamated Clothing and Textile workers’ Union (ACTWU).
The core function of workers and labor unions is to protect employee rights and privileges. In the same spirit, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) organizers felt that SGA could capitalize on the hard economic time and stiff market competition to exploit the company’s employees (Nkomo, Fottler, and McAfee, 2012). The Union officials felt that with rising competition in the industry, SGA could resolve to significantly lowering employee remuneration and perks as well as considerably cutting down on the bonuses and other employee benefits so as to manage the operational expenditure of the company.
The core impetus of the ACTWU was therefore to protect the rights and privileges of employees amidst rising operational costs and increasing market competition. For instance, ACTWU were fighting to ensure that no employee is fired through retrenchment as the company strived to keep pace with the market conditions (Nkomo, Fottler, and McAfee, 2012). ACTWU was also fighting to ensure that the employee benefits and privileges at SGA remained unaltered even as the company went through economic turmoil (Nkomo, Fottler, and McAfee, 2012). Lastly, ACTWU was also trying to see to it that should SGA find it hard to cope with the market force and decide to close down the firm, then each and every employee was to receive due competition as stipulated in the initial contract of employment.
ACTWU therefore expected to mobilize SGA workers to vote for the union so as to ensure apt representation of the workers to the management (Nkomo, Fottler, and McAfee, 2012). In other words, the union felt the workers had not been dully represented and thus needed an extra voice to air their grievances.
SGA strategy in managing Union Campaigns
SGA management opted not to take on the ACTWU campaigns but rather convince the entire workers fraternity behind the company’s management. In the numerous communications made to the employees, Jack Phillips, the executive officer of the firm, repeatedly insisted that it was only unity that could keep the management and the employees in good working relations. Attempts were thus made by the management to convince the employees to wholly believe that the management had the best interests of its employees at hand and thus no external force was so sufficient to alter such reservations. Scripturally, the apostle Peter in 1 Peter the third chapter and verse 8, he encourages the brethren to be one in unity, mind, sympathy and brotherly love (NIV Bible, 1997). From this biblical text, it is clear that unity in the family- in this context SGA, was a call made by the management in a bid to avoid further fall out by its staff. Christians are thus urged to be one in a family unit including a work setup, and to express brotherly love even in the midst of feuds.
Similarly, the management chose to intimidate and threaten employees so as to make them vote against the ACTWU. For example, the management insisted that it reserved the right to terminate the operations of the company by way of closing down the firm as deemed right, and this wholly depended on the managerial decisions. By this, the management chose to make the employees aware that should they opt to join the union and subsequently increase the operational costs of the company to such level that the company risked losses, then the only viable solution was to shut down SGA. This was meant to threaten the employees that they could all lose their jobs if the company closed down. The only way to avoid such a scenario was therefore to let go of the ACTWU and leave the management the power to determine employees’ fate.
Although a section of the employees were for the union, it can easily be noted that the management succeeded to a large extent in manipulating the SGA employees against the ACTWU.
Charges against SGA management
SGA management might easily face a number of charges with regard to the labor law and related requirements. To begin with, it is against the labor laws and regulations for any employer to knowingly deny his or her employees the right to join and or participate in union matters as Landry, (2016) documents. Every employee is constitutionally free to join workers unions for the sole purpose of representation of the same employee’s rights and privileges (Kneese and Rosenblat, 2014). In this case scenario, the management of SGA has boldly come out not only to discourage but even threaten course of action for any of its employees who might get involved in the activities of the ACTWU. This is against the law and the management is liable for subsequent charges (Alimov, 2015).
Secondly, SGA management is in for charges for negatively portraying a workers’ union in public. According to the law, no employer is allowed to create any negative publicity of any workers’ union, irrespective of the preference and liking for the same union (Alimov, 2015). The SGA management has printed Ant- ACTWU shirts, hats and fliers, not to mention the numerous discouraging mails send to the employees against joining ACTWU. Whether the SGA management endorses Amalgamated Clothing and Textile workers’ Union (ACTWU) or not, it is sole responsibility of the employees to make such decisions and any attempts by the employer to influence such decisions is unlawful.
Although the SGA management is against ACTWU, publicly inciting its employees against the union as well as restricting membership from its employees is both unconstitutional and unlawful. ACTWU is thus justified to seek for damages and any related lawsuits against the management for interfering in a union’s affairs.
Alimov, A. (2015). Labor protection laws and bank loan contracting. Journal of Law and Economics, 58(1), 37-74.
Calvasina G. Labor Relations; Union Organizing at the SGA Industries. Southern Utah University, Case 98.
Kneese, T., & Rosenblat, A. (2014). Understanding Fair Labor Practices in a Networked Age. Open Society Foundations' Future of Work Commissioned Research Papers.
Landry, J. R. (2016). Fair Responses to Unfair Labor Practices: Enforcing Federal Labor Law Through Nontraditional Forms of Labor Action. Colum. L. Rev., 116, 147-237.
Nkomo, S. M., Fottler, M. D., & McAfee, R. B. (2012). Applications in human resource management. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western,98.
NIV Bible. (1997). London: Hodder & Stoughton.