It doesn’t have to be the “it’s our way or the highway” model that Talley’s owned meat companies practice - where voice through a union is to be suppressed and disciplinary action taken against union members who seek to advance their human rights to join unions and organise.
Think about the wasted millions of dollars on Employment Authority and Court action by and against the union for daring to exercise access and other rights guaranteed by law. And the threats of civil action when the union tells the story of a worker who was injured on the job to a select committee (under parliamentary privilege) and is called “dishonest” despite the worker winning his case in the Authority.
The imposition of individual agreements that exclude union involvement and voice and make employer power dominant was a road well travelled by other companies last century. It's the low road to success.
Yes, the union doesn’t always get things right, but the heavy handed approach to stifle union involvement needs to be reconsidered by the company.
Are they getting better productivity and reducing workplace accidents by tapping into the workers’ ideas about making the plant work better? Doesn’t look like it.
Do they have a system of engagement where workers feel their ideas matter, where they are actively engaged in improving plant production and where it’s not a daily contest between stressed supervisors, overbearing managers and the workers on the job? Nope.
Does AFFCO Talley ever consider that these workers have years of skill and service that count for something? Do they remember that these workers took pay cuts one time to help AFFCO survive and it was the union and the CTU who took on the hard job of getting members to accept this and work with the company? Doubt it.
Perhaps Talley could look to more successful companies for advice : those companies who value active union involvement and engagement, even when there are disagreements – because those companies don’t see this as a threat, but rather something to be worked on together.
If the union is wrong, tell us Talley’s, but Jobs that Count think there is a better way.