In an interview with international labor radio station RadioLabour, IAM Woodworker Department Director William Street reports on the progress of the IAM campaign to unionize workers at Swedwood USA, an IKEA subsidiary in Danville, VA.
“Given the fact that the workplace is phenomenally hostile and intimidating, that they have a ruthless termination policy that they apply arbitrarily, and that they’re guilty of violating the Builders and Woodworkers International (BWI) Global Framework Agreement, U.S. safety laws, their own standards and International Labor Standards Conventions… it’s going pretty good,” said Street.
Street says the IAM has succeeded in getting 49 percent of the Swedwood workforce to sign authorization cards, despite the company firing many workers for wanting to join the union.
The IAM is working to create safe working conditions at Swedwood, especially amid a recent report showing the company may be the most dangerous plant in the wood furniture industry.
IKEA’s Global Framework Agreement with BWI calls on the furniture-maker to assist in the formation of unions at its locations around the world, but the company has not done so.