US union United Steelworkers (USW) warned at the weekend that recently unionised workers at the Maryland Siemens's plant have become targets for an anti-union campaign by the company's management.
The company has launched a full-blown union-busting campaign, hiring anti-union consultant Ken Cannon who advertises himself as having "40 years of experience supporting managements' efforts to remain union-free."
Paradoxically, Siemens signed a global framework agreement with its general works council, the German metalworkers' union IG Metall and the IndustriALL Global Union on July 25 in which the company pledged to respect workers' right to choose a union.
In that agreement Siemens committed itself to fundamental workers' rights such as equal opportunity, freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The agreement states that "members of employee organisations or unions will be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged on account of their membership."
But in a recent letter to employees, Siemens director of operations Joe Didwall stated: "Siemens does not believe a union is in the best interest of our employees here in the north-east."
The reason is twofold, the company claims: "Unions haven't delivered on their promises and unionised employers can have difficulty being competitive in today's global economy."
General manager Isadore Hossler told workers: "If organised, we will lose customers in the south as they don't want to do business with a union facility."
Mr Cannon has been conducting meetings with employees at which he has told them that he is making $173,000 (£110,000) a year and does not need the money, but does his union-busting for fun.
He bragged that he wins all of his campaigns and has never had an unfair labour practice filed against him.
"This is a classic union-busting operation," said USW international president Leo W Gerard. "It is completely inconsistent with the company's stated principles and with International Labour Organisation conventions as well as US law."
The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
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