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IKEA refused to recognize the union; NOW, intervenes in union election

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Supporters,

I would like to give you the latest update on our Campaign for Workers Rights in IKEA. BWI will be posting daily updates on what is happening in Danville and on our campaign. I encourage you to visit the BWI website for the latest update and request for solidarity actions.

Since 2008, over 300 workers at Swedwood, a subsidiary of IKEA in Danville, Virginia in the United States have organized and joined the trade union. BWI has been engaged in dialogue with both IKEA and Swedwood since July 4, 2008 on behalf of its affiliate, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) seeking to represent the workers. BWI and IKEA have signed an International Framework Agreement (IFA), which includes a provision that IKEA will allow its workers---across the supply chain---to freely join trade unions. BWI asked IKEA to recognize the union at Danville.

After more than 1,000 days of dialogue and negotiations, IKEA refuses to recognize the union in Danville. In April 15, an informal dialogue was held in Netherlands between representatives of IKEA and BWI. IKEA representatives reiterated their position not to recognize the union. However, they proposed to discuss the conduct of a “fair and friendly election.” These discussions went as far as to include a possible agreed framework for a “Friendly Election.” The points identified were as follows:

1. Access: allow the union representatives distribute union materials and talk to workers at the company premises;
2. Neutrality: managers and supervisors would remain neutral and not speak or comment about the union and the election
3. Election Conduct: the union should be able to stipulate the bargaining unit without any intervention from the company
4. Voter Lists: The union would be provided the list of workers who are eligible to vote for union after a the minimum of 24 hours upon filing for election.

IKEA communicated to BWI that once the union filed for an election, IKEA and Swedwood would not oppose or intervene and they would agree to set an election date as soon as possible.

On June 20, the IAMAW filed for election. BWI hopes that IKEA will stop its previous practices of interference and adhere to the terms of what is recognized as a “Fair and Friendly Election.”

Within less than 24 hours, IKEA and Swedwood failed to abide by the above terms.

Below is a day-by-day update:

June 20, Day 1 – IAMAW files with the company, requesting an election by the workers to decide on union representation

June 21, Day 2 – Swedwood interference with workers right to self determination and demands that 30 “Team Captains” - workers is supervisory roles - are included in the election unit.

June 23 ,Day 4 – Swedwood interferes in workers right to self determination and demands inclusion of "Technical" workers in the election unit.

June 26, Day 6- Swedwood continues to delay election process by refusing to accept worker's right to self determine who they want in their own union

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