To the editor,
The UAW strike has impacted many Ohioans, workers and business owners alike. It is a stark reminder of how fair, transparent, and honest dealing between management and labor are necessary for a functioning economy. Without them – or even if they are perceived to be lacking – disruption can shake an industry to its core.
One area where the seeds of distrust are presently being sowed is in labor’s increasing reliance on “neutrality agreements” to organize a workplace. These agreements are contracts between business owners and labor unions that require employers to relinquish their own free speech rights while the union in question attempts to organize the company. Under these contracts, employers can’t express their own opinions about the union, they can’t correct inaccurate narratives, and they are even prohibited from pointing workers to other sources of information.
Further, because neutrality agreements are typically paired with card check requirements, workers lose their right to a secret ballot during the organizational process. Instead, they need to publicly express their support for or opposition to the union. No doubt the ensuing pressure that can lead to threats and intimidation creates an unhealthy environment of distrust at work.
Employers who accede to neutrality agreements often do so for two main reasons. Either they are forced into accepting an agreement in order to operate as a federal contractor to agencies like HHS or the FDA, or they are pressured into an agreement through a union corporate campaign, a ruthless approach that involves divisive tactics and broken business relationships.
We have seen what dishonesty and misinformation has done to our national politics, especially when one side or the other attempts to change the rules to advantage their side. The same thing is happening in the small businesses throughout the U.S. My hope is that Senator J.D. Vance will take up the charge of putting an end to neutrality agreements, which benefit union bosses at the expense of job creators and workers.