During the strike, additional Cloud 9 employees from the Kirkwood Branch show up, but they’re only there to replace the striking workers, not to join the strike. Jeff shares that he will welcome back any employees who come inside and apologize, and that is when the other employees realize they are easily replaceable. These employees do not possess any particular skills that other workers aren’t capable of doing. This labor market would be rather competitive since the workers are essentially homogenous.
Category: Labor Law
Internal Union Busting
One way firms respond to increased union efforts is through managerial opposition. Because it’s illegal to fire workers who try to unionize, firms may use alternative tactics to discourage the formation of a union. An employee has been talking about forming a union and the district manager lets Amy know that the corporate office is considering shutting down stores, and a unionized workforce would make it more likely their store could be shut down. Amy, Dina, and Jonah meet in a backroom to discuss ways to stop the unionization from proceeding.
The Employees Go on Strike
A lot of the employees walked out while on their shift in the hopes of getting Glenn his job back. The regional manager has arrived and is working with Jonah and Amy to see how they can get the employees back to work. Initially, Amy and Jonah ask only for Glenn to have is job back, but they must sign a letter saying that they apologize for walking out. While it seems like a small request, they decide that the employees really deserve more. Part of the goal of unionization is to turn a competitive labor market into a monopoly provider of labor. Through collective bargaining, Amy and Jonah demand more for their group.
So Many Union Memos
The lights are off in the store, but Dina and Glenn are searching for the manual override code to get power back online. While searching, Glenn goes through a series of older memos from the corporate office about how to keep union activity minimized. While stores cannot legally stop employees from unionizing, they have an incentive to keep unionization efforts at a minimum to keep labor costs low. The managerial opposition hypothesis is one explanation for low unionization in the US and primarily focuses on firms taking a proactive role in discouraging unionization.
The Union Buster Arrives
After Amy and Jonah contact the corporate office to secure paid maternity leave for Cheyenne, the main office sends a union buster to the store to try and talk the employees out of forming a union. These union busters are paid to help dispel the idea that unions can benefit workers. Firms are often willing to spend money (which reduces profits) so they can avoid paying higher wages (which also would reduce profit).
The team is trying to donate days off so Cheyenne can have her baby since Cloud 9 doesn’t offer maternity leave. Jonah finds out how much profit Cloud 9 made the year before and calls corporate with Amy to try and see if they can give Cheyenne maternity leave.
Jonah inadvertently says the word “union” and a mess ensues. His goal was to secure paid maternity leave for an employee who will soon give birth, but the corporate office believes the store is threatening to unionize. The corporate office sends a union buster who behaves as though he is a labor relations consultant.
It’s election day and Cloud 9 has placed pamphlets in the break room encouraging employees to vote for anti-union candidates. Cloud 9 knows that unionization could result in much higher labor costs, so they spend that money to encourage workers to not form a union. This form of managerial opposition is part of the explanation for the decline in unionization rates in the United States.