Union Busters and their Dirty Tricks

Management views unions as a threat to their absolute power over workers.


THE TRUTH is, unions make your workplace safer and ensure fair treatment under a legal contract.

Many employers choose to ignore the contributions of their workforce, treating people without respect and offering too little in return for their labor, skills, and dedication. When you form a union, you will want your employer to be successful and profitable so that you can share in the company's prosperity. You can also seek a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation, knowing that you have the protection of a legal contract to back you up.

Here are some of the most common tactics management uses to deny your right to form a union. Learning about these tactics will arm you with knowledge to help you become proud members of the Boilermakers union!

Union-busting consultants and attorneys

Union-busting consultants will try every trick in the book while being paid big bucks by management.

Management may hire consultants and attorneys who specialize in busting unions or preventing them from forming. These consultants will devise a plan that includes many of the tactics described in this brochure. You may hear management say they are losing business or losing money because of your organizing efforts - even while they are paying union-busters thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Union-busting consultants will try every trick in the book to steer you away from forming a union. Your organizer is familiar with how these consultants operate and can help you stay on track to secure a union that will fight for your interests.

Your organizer will also pay close attention to management's tactics to ensure your rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) are fully protected.

Captive Audience Meetings

You are free to assemble outside of work to promote and support organizing efforts.

Management may require that you attend meetings at your worksite to talk to you about your desire to form a union. Because you are already on the job and management is in control, these gatherings are called "captive audience" meetings. These meetings give management the opportunity to present misleading information about unions while attempting to place management in the best possible light. Management may give false promises about their future behavior towards workers or even threaten some dire action if workers continue their organizing efforts.

While captive audience meetings give management an unfair advantage, you are free to assemble outside of work to support organizing efforts.

Workers understand that most of the essential work in forming a union is done off the clock, away from the influence of management.

We didn't know you felt this way

They are out of touch with the workers!

Management often claims they didn't know workers were dissatisfied with working conditions, unfair treatment, repressive policies, lack of pay raises, or lousy benefits. They may promise to do better, to change their behavior, or even reassign difficult supervisors.

If management truly didn't know about worker dissatisfaction, then they are out of touch with the workforce. On the other hand, if they were aware that workers were upset but did nothing to address the situation, it shows they were indifferent to their own employees.

A union collective bargaining agreement can address these issues and require contractual changes rather than rely on management's "promise to do better".

We don't need a third party to interfere with our relationship

YOU are the union. YOU and your fellow workers decide. The union is there to support your efforts.

Management often uses the argument that the union is a third party that comes between the company and their employees. Management may also argue that unions are only after dues money.

The truth is that a union is not some far-away entity; the workers themselves are the union. It is you and your fellow workers who elect your local officers, vote on local bylaws, choose the bargaining committee to negotiate with the employer, and run day-to-day operations. The International union provides the guidance, the experienced representatives, and the resources to support the local lodge. Dues money is what pays for these services and the operation of the local lodge.

Workers who organize never pay any dues unless and until the initial collective bargaining agreement has been ratified by a majority vote of the bargaining unit.


Shutting down (or threatening to) because of unionizing is against the law.

Management may hope to scare you away from organizing with a direct or indirect threat. They may threaten to lay off employees, close the business, or move operations out of the area.

Shutting down operations because employees unionize — or even threatening to do so — is against the law. Companies may close for a variety of reasons, including poor management, shifting market needs, or a weak economy. An organized workforce is not a valid reason.

In Fact, Unions can advance safety performance and production processes that actually improve an employer's bottom line.


Deliberate delays and failure to bargain in good faith violate your NLRA rights.

Management hopes it can stall the election process or, if you win the union election, prolong negotiations for your first contract. Their aim is to cause frustration and impatience so that you finally give up.

The National Labor Relations Act requires both parties, the union and the company, to bargain "in good faith". That means each side must have the intent to reach a contract and not merely go through the motions or endure constant delays to undermine the bargaining process.

Unions can obtain help through the National Labor Relations Board to force management to negotiate in good faith.


Over 99% of all contracts are settled without a strike.

Management may tell you that the Boilermakers will "take you out on strike" even if you don't want to. They may tell you that while you are out during a strike you could be permanently replaced. They may ask you how you will support yourself and your family if you are forced to strike.



Smear the Union.

We are proud of our union, and you will be too.

Management will do their best to smear the union in any way it can, while ignoring its own problems or the general problems that can occur with businesses as a whole, including white-collar crimes and unethical behavior.

The Boilermakers have helped build railroads in the U.S. and Canada, construct ships to defend our two nations in two world wars, erect North America's energy and manufacturing infrastructure to create national prosperity and a strong middle class, and produce everyday consumer goods to make life easier. We are known for our generosity to worthy causes and community involvement.

The Boilermakers Union has been in continuous operation since 1880. our members have earned a reputation for quality work.

Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work
Boilermakers at work


What's the difference between working union and nonunion?

Union membership pays!

Union membership is an investment, not an expense! protect your wages and benefits with a Boilermaker contract!