IKEA’s dangerous little secret

From Jonathan Simon:

My “personalized message” to the IKEA goons:
“My message is very simple: unless you discontinue your heinous anti-union, anti-worker practices and begin showing genuine and racially unbiased respect for your American workers, I will not make another purchase at your stores, whatever the convenience, quality, or appeal. AND I will make certain that my substantial network of friends and associates follows suit.”

Sent: 6/29/2011 3:52:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: IKEA’s dangerous little secret

Tell IKEA to let its workers organize for fair wages and a safer workplace.

Dear Jonathan,

In Sweden, IKEA’s factory workers are paid $19 per hour and get five weeks of paid vacation every year. In America? Not so much.

IKEA’s Swedwood plant in Danville, Virginia is the most dangerous plant in the wood furniture industry — workers there have suffered more than 1,536 days of lost work due to accidents on the job in a 30-month period. According to the LA Times, IKEA’s Danville workers are paid as little as $8 an hour and face racial discrimination from their managers. Workers often find out on Friday night that they’ll be forced to work for the entire weekend — and if they can’t make it, they face disciplinary action.

In Sweden, IKEA’s factory workers are unionized, which is one reason they receive better wages and have a safer workplace — but the company is going all out to prevent American workers from receiving those same rights and protections. Please sign the petition to tell IKEA to give its American workers the freedom to organize.

The workers in Danville have filed for an election to start a union of their own — the election could come as soon as six weeks from now. But rather than pay its workers fair wages, Swedwood pays the notorious union-busting firm Jackson Lewis thousands of dollars a day to hold mandatory “captive audience meetings” with the Danville workers. At these meetings, the Jackson Lewis associates inundate the workers with anti-union propaganda and veiled threats that are backed up with random firings.

Here’s the good news: The publicity surrounding this organizing drive has already made a difference — last month, Swedwood announced that Danville workers would no longer be forced to work mandatory overtime. But Liz Cattaneo of American Rights at Work stresses that continued public pressure is extremely important: “If IKEA thinks the public isn’t paying attention, they’re going to play hardball … throughout the election process – which could mean more firings and more union busting.”

Now that the workers have filed for a union election, you can bet IKEA will redouble its efforts to squash their rights. They need our support now more than ever.

Please sign the petition to tell IKEA’s head of Corporate PR that we are paying attention, and we expect IKEA to treat its American workers just as well as its Swedish workers:

Thanks for taking action,

– Jess and the team



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