Many people have read recent news articles about IRCO and unionizing. We want to be clear that IRCO is not anti-union. We support our employees’ right to organize and to select representation, if they so choose.
IRCO will support staff whether or not they choose to unionize. Our employees have the right to elect or reject representation in a democratic manner, which is best served through secret-ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). For this process to move ahead, a workers’ group must petition the NLRB for an election. Employers/Supervisors cannot call for an election—only workers/unions can. Should a fair election take place, we will absolutely stand by the decision of our employees.
We are committed to staff having fair, neutral and factual information to make their decision. We have been on the search for an external trainer/facilitator whom the staff would trust as a neutral source to provide information, answer staff questions, and facilitate dialogue between staff. Despite having reached out to over half a dozen individuals and organizations, we have not yet found a qualified trainer/facilitator who is willing to take on the job.
IRCO has not retaliated, and will not retaliate, against employees involved in unionization efforts. We have a strict no-retaliation policy, and we would never penalize any staff member for expressing their point of view or engaging in legal activity. We follow all labor laws and take the livelihood of our staff very seriously.
In our discussions with AFSCME, we have worked to protect our right to communicate with our employees and to provide information to them as requested. We have not agreed to share our employees’ personal information—including home addresses and telephone numbers—with the union, because we believe only our employees should decide whether to share this information.
We have been open to working with AFSCME to provide access to our worksites, and we would like to help them understand the diversity of our workforce so they can be more culturally sensitive and effective in their communications with our staff. As our Executive Director Lee Po Cha has said,
“We believe we would be failing in our role as community leader and employer if we did not reserve our right to provide our employees with additional information about what union representation could mean for them individually and what it could mean for IRCO, our clients and our mission. This is especially true given our unique workforce. Our employees have an incredibly diverse background, and for many of them, English is not their first language. They will expect that their leaders will provide information in a language that they can understand and in a culturally sensitive manner. We cannot abdicate that responsibility."
IRCO is neutral on whether the workforce should unionize.