USW Says that Siemens’ “Sweet Talk” Doesn’t Conceal Its Union-Busting Efforts

Unite supporting USW organizing drive in Maryland

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) said today that workers in a North East, Maryland Siemens’ plant who recently signed affiliation cards with the (USW) have become targets of the company’s anti-union philosophy. The company has launched a full-blown union-busting campaign,   hiring an anti-union consultant, Ken Cannon, who advertises “40 years of experience supporting managements' efforts to remain union free.”  

This action comes on the heels of Siemens signing a Global Framework Agreement with its General Works Council, the German Metalworkers union IG Metall, and the IndustriALL Global Union on July 25 where the company pledged to respect workers’ right to choose a union.  (See The Agreement states that “Members of employee organizations or unions will be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged on account of their membership.”

In a recent letter to employees, Siemens’ Director of Operations, Joe Didwall, stated: “Siemens does not believe a union is in the best interest of our employees here in North East. The reason is two-fold: Unions haven't delivered on their promises and unionized employers can have difficulty being competitive in today's global economy.” The General Manager, Izadore Hossler, told workers “if organized we will lose customers in the south as they don’t want to do business with a union facility.”

Cannon has been conducting meetings with employees at which he has told them that he is making $1,000 per day, some $173,000 per year and does not need the money, but does this work for fun.  He told the employees he wins all of his campaigns and has never had an unfair labor practice filed against him.   He told the employees he will be there for the next 30 to 45 days, going around the plant to talk to them one-on-one. Cannon has told some employees that “if you don’t agree with the Union, they will fire you.”

“This is a classic union-busting operation,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.  “It is completely inconsistent with the company’s stated principles and with International Labor Organization Conventions as well as U.S. law.”

The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.

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