Union's Archaic Strategy is What Lead to Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)

By Paul R. Kremp General Manager, Rochester Plaza Hotel & Conference Center | May 05, 2010

I've been managing through an interesting period for the past several years with the Workers United Union (Formerly half of Unite-Here), which has been making attempts to organize the dedicated employees at our hotel. The process given me a first-hand look and educated me as to the strategies the Union has implemented. Generally, I guess you could say it's like living in the history books. You may ask why I say this. The union's archaic strategies have led me to understand why our political and union leaders are pushing so hard for the Employee Free Choice Act. (EFCA)

Almost seven years ago, I was asked to meet the local chair of the Democratic Party, who happened to be a friend and acquaintance. At this meeting she requested that I allow the local union to organize and represent the employees. I politely turned down this request.

A year or so later, the new local Democratic Chair approached me and asked if I would be willing to allow the union to represent our employees. It was a simple request; the Democratic Party wanted me to allow the local union leader to come in to organize our employees. They wanted me to step aside, and allow our employees to become organized (Using the card check system and not the National Labor Relations Board secret ballot election process). I was told our community, namely our hotel, would be able to host the state Democratic convention in the upcoming years as an opportunity to support more economic development.

At the time, no employees were organized in any hotel in our market. It remains that way seven years later. After some research, it seemed to me the real motivation was to place our county on the New York State map for the Democratic Party, improve the position of local Democrats at the state level, and to increase organized labor numbers in our region, all of which I could understand.

Our region is one of the last regions in the state where organized labor membership is well behind the rest of the State. I thought the union was organized to help its members, but this topic didn't even come up. Not once did anyone explain to me why it would be good for our employees and hotel ownership except that it would bring a political convention to the city of Rochester. I thought this inquiry might go away, as it did in years past, and it did for another year or so.

Then in early 2006 it was brought to my attention that hotel employees were passing cards and pressuring each other to sign the cards to be represented by the Unite-Here Union. A full blown "Card Signing Campaign" was going on in the hotel.

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