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                       THE CAPTIVE AUDIENCE MEETING


What is a Captive Audience Meeting? - A captive audience meeting is an “all hands” meeting where the employer brings all the eligible employees in a union vote together to do the following:


1.         Tell you how disappointed he is in this Union effort;

2.         Tell you that you don’t need a third party coming between the employer and employees:

3.         Tell you some “facts” about unions;

4.         Ask for you to give the employer another chance to make things better;


What is the effect of a captive audience meeting? - If the employer has hired a union buster or attorney, he has been told that the captive audience meeting is used to wage psychological warfare against employees, by:


1.         Implying to employees that somehow they are doing something wrong, not only against the employer, but against their fellow employees;

2.         Implying that you do not have all the “facts” concerning the union;

3.         Stating that you and the employer should be able to address concerns one-on-one.



We will address these points one at a time.


Remember - Your best defense is a good offense. Union supporters should announce, in the meeting, that they are union supporters. The employer then has direct knowledge, and the employee enjoys the maximum protections under the National Labor Relations Act.



Union as a third party


1.         Isn’t it true that the employer has a consultant working for them?


2.         Who is the consultant?


3.         Why did the Company hire the consultant?


4.         What is the Company paying the consultant?


5.         Isn’t it true that Corporate has Personnel employees who draft all the policies we live under? So, in effect, doesn’t the Company already have a “third party” assisting them?


6.         We haven’t paid the IBEW a dime to represent us. We have already seen what a Union can do.


7.         Shouldn’t we as employees have an organization to look after our rights, and to assist us in employment-related matters?


8.         What good is an open door policy when there are no teeth in it? Should we secure, in a contract, the process of revolving differences?



9.         Why is the Company so opposed to us having a legal means to resolve differences, without us personally having to hire an attorney?



The Union can’t get you anything/ You may lose what you have right now


1.         What prevents the Company from taking away wages and benefits right now?


2.         Isn’t it true that without a union and a contract, we are employed at will, and that you can fire us for any reason at any time?


3.         Are you saying that once the union is selected as our bargaining representative, we will lose what we have right now?


4.         Are you stating that the Company will not agree to keep our wages and benefits as they are until we negotiate and vote on a contract?


5.         The IBEW has told us that the once we decide on the IBEW, the National Labor Relations Act and case law states that the employer cannot change any term and condition of employment until we negotiate first and agree to the change. Are you saying this is not true?


6.         Are you saying that you have to treat us differently once we become union?


7.         Isn’t it true that top management people in our industry have contracts?


8.         Isn’t it true that once the union comes in that we have a say in our wages, hours, and working conditions?


9.         Why is the Company so afraid of dealing with us as a group?



Give us another chance


1.         Sure. Just meet with us and our representative, and we will secure what you are offering in a signed contract.


2.         What prevents you from reneging on your promises without a contract? The IBEW has told us this is a common occurrence.


3.         Don’t you think that things will stay the same without the Union? Look at what has happened since employers have declared war on unions – Employees didn’t choose the union, and did the industry take care of them? Wages and benefits have not kept up.


4.         How are we ever supposed to raise the standards of this industry if we don’t begin too level the playing field on behalf of the employees?


5.         Isn’t it true, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that Union workers on average, enjoy a 36% better wage and benefit package over non-union workers?


6.         Give us a chance. Let’s see what we can do by working together for a change, instead of having this master/servant relationship.

 Facts about Unions


Employers, in captive audience meetings, like to espouse “facts” about the IBEW and unions in general. These “facts” are purposely designed to misstate or misinform you about unions in general, and to confuse you concerning why you decided to organize in the first place.



The sheets concerning employer “facts” are attached.


Union Bosses


Union busters make an issue of salaries and expenses of Local Union Leaders. Here are the facts, if it comes up.


1.         The IBEW, like all unions, has strict reporting requirements, and laws to protect the interests of union members. The LMRDA requires that unions file annual reports, outlining expenditures.


2.         A full-time Business Manager of an IBEW Local Union, an elected position, earns anywhere from 100% to 170% (dependent upon the Local Union and what it’s members decide) of the weekly salary of the Journeyman rate. This is his salary. The reason it may appear high to you, is that a Journeyman earns from $19.00 - $26.00 per hour. Why?  Most Journeymen employees are highly organized, and have been for over 100 years. The percentage figure was determined by the membership to compensate the Business Manager for the demanding number of hours they must spend on the job. 60-80 hour workweeks are common.


3.         Expenses - All expenses of Local Union Leaders must come out of their own pocket, and are then reimbursed. For example, motels ( Some Local Union folks are on the road 20-25 days per month) meals, transportation expenses, etc. The Local Union membership reviews the expenditures, and votes to accept or reject them each month. If the expense is rejected, or not reasonable, the Local Union Leader eats the cost.


4.         Local Union expenditures are not a secret. The Local Union subscribes to annual reporting by the LMRDA, Annual independent audits, and constant review by the membership.



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