Friday, February 03, 2006

Dunder-Mifflin Violates Section 8(a)(1)

I cannot resist mentioning last night's episode of The Office. The warehouse employees tell Michael that they are interested in forming a union to improve their wages and benefits. Michael relays their interest to manager Jan, who gives the following speech to the warehouse employees.

"I am told that there has been some interest in forming a union and that Michael supported it. Obviously, he is not a friend of yours because he didn't tell you the facts; so let me. If there is even a whiff of unionizing in this branch, I can guarantee you that the branch will be shut down like that [snapping her fingers]. They unionized in Pittsfield, and we all know what happened in Pittsfield. It will cost each of you a fortune in legal fees and union dues and that will be nothing compared to the cost of losing your jobs, so I would think long and hard before sacrificing your savings and your future just to send a message."

Jan should have read NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co., 395 U.S. 575 (1969), before delivering that speech. Her guarantee that that the branch would close upon any whiff of unionization does not look like a prediction carefully phrased on the basis of objective fact to convey an employer's belief as to demonstrably probable consequences beyond its control. I can't wait until next week's episode when a cease-and-desist order (with notice posting) puts Dunder-Mifflin back in its place.