Military Contractor Bills Taxpayers for Anti-Union Meetings

An article published for In These Times unveils illegal, anti-union activity which reportedly took place during an IAM organizing campaign at the Fort Lewis-McChord joint Army and Air Force base in Washington state.

According to the article, workers assigned to help families suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were forced to attend anti-union meetings which they claim the contractor, Strategic Resources Inc. (SRI), billed to the federal government. Using taxpayer money to conduct anti-union activity is against the law.

“According to email exchanges and conversations with the workers, in July, the nine women employed as counselors in SRI’s Victim Advocacy Group say they were forced to attend a meeting in which an outside consultant warned them about the dangers of joining a union,” reads the article. “In August, 14 counselors with the New Parent Support Program were also forced to attend meetings in which the same consultant spoke out against unionizing. In both instances, workers claim they were forced to bill the time attending the meetings to the federal government. President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13494, which went into effect last December, prohibits federal contractors from being reimbursed for the cost of their anti-union activity.”

Despite the taxpayer-funded anti-union meetings, members of the SRI’s Victim Advocacy Group voted to join the IAM in late July. The New Parent Support Program workers are still in talks.

Worker complaints include low wages, unpaid overtime, late mileage reimbursement payments and being continuously forced to close cases on suicidal patients in order to save money. Fort Lewis-McChord has one of the highest suicide rates of army bases in the country.

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