THE CAPTIVE AUDIENCE MEETING
What is a Captive
- 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
1. Implying to employees that somehow
they are doing something wrong, not only against the employer, but against their
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
4. What is the Company paying the
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
8. What good is an open door policy when
there are no teeth in it? Should we secure, in a contract, the process of
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
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
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
The sheets concerning
employer “facts” are attached.
Union busters make an issue
of salaries and expenses of Local Union Leaders. Here are the facts, if it comes
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.