Q. But my interest is in getting more pay!
A. We understand that and know how important your wages, benefits and job security are to you. We take great pride in what we are able to do for our employees - and not how little we can get by with, regardless of what you may have heard. We are always looking for ways to improve the work environment: the way we work, the equipment we own, and the wages and benefits we provide. We will continue to seek improvement in all areas, including wages and benefits, whether you belong to a union or not. The fact is that we have increased wages and added benefits (insurance, hospitalization, pension plan, 401 (k) plan, educational assistance, etc.) without any outside third party representing employees. We've done this because it was the right thing to do.
Q. I've heard that some employers raise wages when there is union activity. Doesn't this prove the PACE organizers' claim that management could be giving us a better deal?
A. First, it is illegal for an employer to grant a wage increase immediately proceeding or during a union representation election period, unless increases are normally given at that same time. Second, most employers grant wage increases based on their wage policy and the success of the business. We understand PACE organizers have claimed wage increases here were only done because of PACE's activity. This is not true. After the merger of the two plants at Sylacauga, the management made wage and benefits improvements based on fair and equitable treatment of employees and the expectation of improved productivity from the combined operation.
Q. Management makes a lot of statements and PACE organizers make a lot of statements. PACE organizers say they're giving me the facts - and management says it's giving me the facts. Who can I believe?
A. Employees are expected to realize that the PACE organizer's job is to convince you to vote yes. You must take it upon yourself to determine whether they are telling the truth. Quoting a NLRB official, "Let the buyer beware." The law requires management to give voters the straight story, and it severely limits what management can say. Management cannot make promises., the law does not hold unions to the same standards. PACE organizers can legally say and promise practically anything.
Please remember that we will be working together for a long time, no matter what happens. The PACE organizer, on the other hand, has no lasting obligation to you. If they aren't successful, they just move on to other projects.
Q. But isn't PACE more interested in us than management is?
A. The management of this facility are your co-workers. We have a common interest in seeing our company successful - our livelihoods depend on it. Think about it, why should anyone from the outside have more of an interest in you than your coworkers?
Q. What are my rights as an employee during the PACE organizing campaign?
A. Everyone should make it their personal mission to know the truth and get the facts. PACE officials can give out leaflets, hold meetings, and make promises to you regarding higher pay and better benefits. As we've stated, however, the union cannot guarantee these things. Instead, those items must be negotiated.
Management can also give you leaflets and hold meetings to tell you the facts, but it is against the law for us to make any promises to you during the campaign.
The law that allows PACE to make promises to employees during an organizing campaign says that it is illegal for management to do the same.
Q. Is it legal for a PACE organizer to visit me at my home?
A. Yes, but the decision to let the organizer into your home is entirely yours. A PACE organizer has no legal right to enter your home and you have no legal requirement to let them in your home.
Q. If I don't want to join PACE, but the PACE organizer keeps after me, what can I do?
A. You can just say `No." PACE organizers maybe persistent but you are not obligated to talk to them.
Q. If I join PACE, won't I gain the right to decide what my wages and other benefits will be?
A. No, this does not mean you decide on your wages and benefits. If PACE ever gets voted in, management and PACE would negotiate over wages and benefits. Negotiate means that management and PACE would try to agree. Management decides what it can afford to pay. With or without PACE, we can only pay what is in the best interests of both Imerys and its employees.
Q. is Imerys against unionization?
A. No, we believe a direct relationship with employees works best at Sylacauga. Most of the management and employees of the organization at Sylacauga have worked here this way very successfully for years and there's no reason to change now. The management and employees of this facility understand our business better than anyone from the outside. We understand the present economic conditions in our industry and know what it takes to be successful.
Furthermore, as you know, our customers depend on us. When we get an order, we must be able to fill it without interruptions. our customers have confidence that we can supply their needs without work stoppage or strikes. With a direct relationship with management and employees our customers will continue to have confidence that we can supply their needs without work stoppages or strikes.
As you study the questions and answers that follow, we hope you will come to feel as we do: PACE is not needed here in Sylacauga.
Q. What assurances do I have that I'm getting the best possible deal without PACE?
A. Think about this: Our organization, along with others in this area, is competing for your job skills. An employer who is indifferent to wages, benefits, and working conditions isn't able to attract the best employees. We don't claim to have every conceivable benefit that anyone could dream up, or the highest wages and the shortest hours of anyone in any industry, anywhere. But we know we offer a good program and we help employees who want to help themselves.
Q. Why don't I just join PACE and try it out for a little while? Maybe it can really do something.
A. A union is not Something you just "try out." Once voted in, the procedure to remove PACE is so involved that, for all practical purposes, they would be here to stay. If you wanted to get them out, you would have to do this on your own. Management is prohibited by law from giving any assistance.