Tennessee Chamber’s ‘Remaining Union-Free’ Seminars Come While Businesses Can Still Attend Anonymously

Walmart has been one of the most outspoken companies on union resistance. Most companies would prefer not to be seen as anti-union. Credit: Neon Tommy via Flickr

Walmart has been one of the most outspoken companies on union resistance. Most companies would prefer not to be seen as anti-union. Credit: Neon Tommy via Flickr

The union organizing campaign at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant – while so-far unsuccessful – has prompted the state’s Chamber of Commerce to offer seminars on how to keep workplaces “union-free.” The events were hastily scheduled because of a looming change in labor law.

It’s not that unusual for business groups to meet with attorneys and talk about tactics for resisting unions. But starting March 1st, everyone in attendance would have to disclose that to the U.S. Department of Labor, making it public record.

Nashville labor attorney Mekesha Montgomery says employers don’t want the world to think they’re worried.

“The perception is that they’re only interested in this sort of information because they have some concern that their employees are ripe for unionization. So that – in turn – would make them a target.”

Montgomery’s law firm – Frost Brown Todd – has partnered with the Tennessee Chamber to offer sessions in Nashville and Chattanooga this week with titles like “Seeing Your Workplace Through Union Eyes” and “Preventing Beachhead Unions.”

A similar event in Memphis scheduled for later in March may be cancelled if the new disclosure rules go into effect as scheduled, Montgomery says. That’s because so few people would come.

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