USA: Workers at Ikea's Swedwood unit in Virginia vote to form union despite company's steps to block organising efforts

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27 July 2011

Ikea’s Virginia Manufacturing Plant Workers Vote for Union [USA]

Author: Holly Rosenkrantz, Bloomberg [USA]

Workers at Ikea’s U.S. furniture factory voted to form a union...The factory [is] operated by a subsidiary called Swedwood...“We fully support the right of our co-workers to make this decision,” said Ingrid Steen, a Swedwood spokeswoman...“The primary issue that has driven this campaign from the beginning has been a plantation-like attitude by management,” said Bill Street, director of the woodworking department for the union who led the organizing campaign...[Six] black former employees filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming they have faced racial discrimination at the factory...Complicating the working conditions in Danville is a disparity between work rules in the U.S. and in Sweden...The company also has a code of conduct called IWAY that guarantees workers the right to organize and stipulates that all overtime be voluntary...In Danville, the company hired Jackson Lewis LLP, a law firm that helps businesses block unions, to fight the organizing effort.

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23 July 2011

Va. union drive puts IKEA's global image to a test

Author: Steve Szotak, Associated Press

Workers at IKEA's only U.S. plant are deciding whether to unionize...The union is challenging the Swedish furniture giant's vaunted corporate ethos, accusing the retailer of paying its American workers low wages and tolerating unsafe working conditions...An IKEA spokeswoman denied union allegations that the Virginia plant operates in conflict with IKEA's principles, saying the Danville operation has consistently measured up to its own internal and third-party audits.

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