A scab list is circulating around unionized workers in Wisconsin striking against Kohler Co., naming employees that have crossed the picket line and returned to work at the plant, according to reports Monday.
The strike began Nov. 16. after workers represented by the United Auto Workers Local 833 rejected a contract proposal the day prior. The main purpose of scab lists is to notify striking workers of who among their colleagues is giving up on the protest. The scab list passed around includes 13 names and was distributed on a flyer.
“No longer our union brothers or sisters,” the flyer obtained by WHBL News Radio said. “A scab is a scab. Don’t be afraid to point them out.”
Local 833 has said 94 percent of members stand opposed to the contract proposal, because of wage and healthcare benefit issues. The proposed contract offers unionized workers several benefits plus increased wages, but does not get rid of the two tier wage system workers have been most adamantly against.
The system means some workers get more pay and bonuses than the rest of their colleagues for the same work. Workers in the first tier can expect a $1,200 bonus, while the others get $1,000. The last strike against Kohler was in 1983.
The Center for Union Facts argued the list is clearly being used as an intimidation tactic. It detailed Wednesday how laws are easily manipulated or abused by unions, allowing them to go after opposing views.
“One of Big Labor’s notorious intimidation tactics is the so-called ‘scab list'” Union Facts noted. “The National Labor Relations Act is supposed to protect employees’ rights to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, but in practice unions have many means to bring intimidation tactics against employees who want to quit.”
Other local chapters of the union has deployed similar tactics recently. Union Facts detailed how Local 600 intimidated dissenters by publishing their names and job titles in the union magazine. It has vowed to continue doing so until those workers become union members and start paying dues.
Union Facts notes the scab list as a perfect example of why Congress should pass the Employee Rights Act (ERA). The law is currently before lawmakers and could have the potential to fundamentally transform federal labor law.
The measure would guarantee secret ballot elections and require unions to hold re-certification votes. It would also strengthen the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit unions from intimidating or coercing employees and criminalize union threats.
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