Wrong is wrong no matter how you spin it. I don’t believe that unethical business practices are ever justified. I am on the board of a private Edmonton company that is being attacked by a union. I know the word attacked is very strong and some readers are going to automatically think I am just a “union bashing” Capitalist.
While anyone who knows me will tell you I am definitely a proud capitalist, that does not automatically mean I am anti-union. In some cases I believe unions are beneficial to their membership and can form an important part of a company’s culture. For example, unions can at times be an important communications link within an organization. In this company however that is not the case. I do not believe the union would bring anything constructive or beneficial to the table within this organization.
The company is a family owned business with a 35 year track record of taking care of their people and growing through their employees. This growth has been so successful that they are the acknowledged market leaders in their particular business sector. That success is what has put them on the radar screen of the union. There is no unfairly treated workforce, no history of abusive work practices and no line up of workers pleading for help. This is a good company filled with great people who just happen to be extremely good at what they do. Their success means they now employee a large number of people and it is that labor role that is attracting the union. The union has not been called in to fix some great wrong or to defend some poor weak group that needs a voice. The union’s motives are clear and simple. They see a great potential of dues, income, money!
This particular union has a well-documented track record of moving across North America using media smear campaigns against the employer and intimidation tactics against the workers to further their own success. In this case the union is smearing the name of a good company with no regard for what is right or wrong or who might be getting hurt. The family that has proudly grown this company for generations feel like they are being personally attacked and they have a lot of trouble understanding why. The basic principles of providing a quality product and offering superior customer service to customers with whom you build a relationship and respecting and take caring for the people who deliver these services mean nothing to this union. They will say anything and do anything to achieve their own goals and who they are doing it to or what the truth is seems to be irrelevant.
So the court documents are being filed and the lawsuits are piling up. This reputable Edmonton company finds itself in full defense mode. New skills are being learned about how to proactively defend yourself from an unwarranted and unfair attack. The owners of the business feel attacked, senior management is angry and the front line workers are scared and confused. But to the union it’s just business.
It is disgusting that this can occur in our business community. Wrong is wrong no matter how you spin it.