It may be for this reason that the IRCO simply refused to meet with AFSCME, much less offer neutrality or a list. An afSCME letter to management and the board of directors was ignored. Even the union president was unable to get her calls back. Finally, the IRCO informed the union that it would not meet. Andrea says: „You also sent an email saying that the neutrality agreement means that the union comes to you and that we don`t want people to be harassed. And a choice of card check means you could be intimidated. Other illegal agreements negotiated prior to the recognition of trade union representation include those which: A typical provision of a neutrality agreement is: „The company undertakes not to make negative public statements about the Union and any official, representative or member [union]”.” No employer wants a union, but if they think the union has a credible chance to organize the workplace, such agreements are a way of saying „so far and no further.” Dana Corp, an auto parts manufacturer, gave the UAW a contact list and agreed to remain neutral in organizing efforts and accepting card review; In return, the UAW agreed not to strike and the company and the union agreed on the principle of health care and wages, as well as the authorization of mandatory overtime. Often, companies that enter into neutrality agreements have already unionized a large part of their staff, he said. In such circumstances, employers can enter into a neutrality agreement to ensure favourable working conditions at their existing union sites. Early studies have shown that neutrality campaigns have been much more successful, both in terms of union representation and in negotiating a first contract. In 2001, Adrienne Eaton and Jill Kriesky found that campaigns that achieved some form of neutrality had a 68% success rate for formal recognition, compared to 46% in the NLRB elections, and that 96% of neutrality campaigns signed a collective agreement. Asked whether the organizing committee had already agreed to the neutrality strategy, Andrea said: „I do not want to denigrate AFSCME publicly, but it was pretty clear that they had already decided that this would happen.
We said, „What happens if they call our bluff? What`s our plan B? And [the organizer] said: `There is no way. They`re afraid of us. We have influence with the county, we can make it public, the funders would be really angry. You haven`t really answered a lot of questions about the worst-case scenario. Such a policy requires employers who do business with the government or participate in a government-sponsored program to sign a „neutrality agreement.” Neutrality agreements emerged as trade unions were severely pushed back – a loss of members, politically insulted and legally paralyzed. As a tactic, they can be very effective, but it is up to us to ask ourselves: effective with what? They are declaring new members and are expected to significantly improve standards for these workers. But they don`t create a working-class force. This means that, unlike the examples in the last section, the employer is no longer beaten up until it agrees to conditions. Instead, it is an opening step, often to get a contact list for workers, with perhaps the implicit threat of a disruption such as leaflets or a referral to the brand (unions are entitled to a contact list 30 days before an NLRB election, but it is a very short time to reach workers , especially in a large workplace).