Workers: Quebecor Broke Promise to Respect Rights

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Employees at Quebecor World's Covington, TN, and Olive Branch, MS, facilities and the Graphic Communications International Union filed 15 new charges June 1 with the National Labor Relations Board, officials with the AFL-CIO confirmed yesterday.


The charges claim unlawful threats of plant closure, disparate treatment of workers who want to form a union, surveillance of employees and the promise of additional benefits to workers who don't support the union.


Quebecor workers are trying to unionize through GCIU as part of the Justice@Quebecor campaign, begun in December. Quebecor, Montreal, is the world's second-largest commercial printer and employs 39,000 in plants worldwide.


"I'm trying to better myself and my workplace," said Tony Paraham, who charged that he was harassed for wearing a union sticker at the Olive Branch plant. "We're still being intimidated, harassed and discriminated against by the company."


Quebecor workers and the GCIU previously had filed 23 unfair labor practice charges since December against the company with the NLRB. According to the earlier charges, one Covington worker was fired because he would not spy on co-workers on management's behalf.


During past union-organizing drives, the NLRB found that Quebecor broke the law when workers tried to organize by threatening employees with loss of jobs if they formed a union and by firing and disciplining workers who supported the union, according to the union.


Quebecor denied allegations of "unfair labor practices that are contained in a union-sponsored press release." The statement said the company "believes this is an ongoing tactic being used by the union leadership's campaign. In its latest release the union states the company has been found to have broken U.S. law when workers tried to organize. This is completely false and defamatory."


Quebecor said the company has solid relationships with its unionized workers and is one of the most highly unionized companies in the printing industry. One-third of its U.S. employees, or more than 7,000, are union members.


Quebecor said the filing of such unfair-practice claims "is a well-established strategy being used in the furtherance of the union's corporate campaign goals." It also said "the National Labor Relations Board has not notified [Quebecor] of any newly filed unfair labor practice charges."


NLRB officials in Tennessee acknowledged receiving new claims involving Quebecor.


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