Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ikea: Swedish for Union-Busting?

Ikea Ikea's plant in Danville, Va is facing a series of labor and employment charges.  Many are coming out of an attempt by the Machinists union to organize the plant.  Employees allege that the plant is oppressive in general, with specifics including last-minute mandatory overtime, discrimination, captive-audience speeches, and extremely strict work rules.  Ikea has responded by, among other things, hiring Jackson Lewis to stop the union effort.

An interesting aspect of this dispute is that Ikea's reputation in Sweden is that of national icon and very employee-friendly.  This Danville dispute, unlike here, have been big news in Sweden.  What this means is that the American workers have an additional avenue to put pressure on Ikea if they can take advantage of the support in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe.  I've discussed this type of extra-territorial collective action (as have others) before, which can be successful, as several multi-national companies have discovered.

Hat Tip:  Michael Duff


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