The email sent on 8/12/2022 to all Region 8 (Buffalo) GEICO associates, states that "GEICO has not authorized any home visits from union representatives". Please be advised that union activity does not need to be authorized by the company that is being unionized and this statement is a gross representation of worker rights and the law. The US government has authorized employees to come together for collective bargaining for decades and no company is in a position to authorize or not authorize concerted activity. Implying such, is misinformation and an unsuccessful attempt to delegitimize our movement. GEICO is encouraging employees to call the police as a way to discourage and hinder concerted activity.
We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from fellow colleagues during house visits. GEICO's disingenuous response to federally protected activity, encourages us to work even harder to protect all employees against such manipulation. The email continues to spread misinformation by implying low rates of unionization in America is because joining a union is futile. If this was true, GEICO wouldn't be trying so hard to discourage employees to practice their federally protected rights. The truth is, GEICO is afraid of us joining together for collective bargaining. 22.2% of wage and salary workers in New York State are union members and Buffalo was built on the back of unions. We will not accept such blatant disregard for the workingman's rights and will fight harder to protect all of us against corporate greed. This type of manipulation and disrespect is exactly the reason we are unionizing.
We will ask GEICO for:
Joining a union simply means that you and your colleagues have a say because you negotiate important elements of employment conditions together. When we organize a union at GEICO, we will be able to collectively ask for benefits that we would never be able to negotiate individually. Organizing a union in the workplace is about gaining more rights and more power. Thousands of working people, all across the country and in all kinds of jobs, organize unions every year because unions are the best way to secure the things they care about. Collective bargaining is how working people gain a voice at work and gain the power to shape their working lives. Starbucks workers who unionized for the very first time right here in Buffalo, received a 40% increase in pay almost immediately. According to a 2021 report by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average earnings of union members are $186 higher per week or $9,672 per year. The difference between union and non-union income is even larger for women. At 45 to 54, the difference is $204 per week or about $10,608 per year.
Unions fought for many of the humane standards and norms that protect and uplift Americans today. These programs include Social Security, child labor laws, antidiscrimination laws, health and safety laws, Unemployment Insurance, compensation for workers who get hurt on the job, the 40-hour workweek, and the federal minimum wage. Unions were a major force behind all the Great Society laws on discrimination, housing, and voting rights.
Union signatures are confidential and GEICO has no way of knowing who voted "yes" for a union. Companies who retaliate against organizers by terminating them, are often required to pay large back-pay settlements. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) guarantees employees the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other organizing activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. Section 8(a)(1) of the Act makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act.
EMPLOYERS MAY NOT:
THERE AREN'T ANY UNION DUES until there is a first union contract in place and the contract only goes into effect once it is ratified (voted on by union members). At most other unions they are typically around $10 per week (and even less for part-time employees). This adds up to around 25 cents per hour. Logically we will only vote "yes" on a contract that includes an increase in wages that is higher than the amount of union dues. IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE, SINCE WE ARE ORGANIZING A COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT UNION, 100% OF UNION DUES WILL GO TOWARD OUR UNION AND UNION MEMBERS.
Sign the signature card promptly. SIGNATURES ARE COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL and are sent to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This is the most crucial step. After that, you can help us with canvassing. We are going door-to-door to speak with GEICO employees in person. It is important that we do this step quickly because turnover at GEICO is extremely high. Instead of improving worker conditions, companies choose to spend millions of dollars on anti-union efforts every year because they know they are powerless when workers are united. GEICO is spreading misinformation about unions and how they work, in an attempt to discourage employees. This is why we need to spread awareness quickly and the most effective way of doing this is going door-to-door. So please contact us today to get involved.
ALL OF US EMPLOYEES ARE THE UNION'S FOUNDERS. This movement does not belong to a single person as unions are democratic in nature and arise in order to balance the power between employee and employer. Unionizing takes every single one of us working together to make this dream a reality. If you are interested in taking a more active role in shaping the union, its constitution and its bylaws, it's important that you participate as a member of the organizing committee (going door to door and collecting signatures). At the early stages, everyone is ONLY focused on organizing the union and spreading awareness. After the NLRB recognizes the union, contract negotiations begin and could take up to one year. Members of the organizing committee are typically those involved in negotiations. After GEICO and GEICO United agree on a contract, it needs to be ratified (voted on by union members). If the contract is approved by union members (employees), elections are held to fill positions for department stewards, union representatives, treasurer, vice president and president, and all union members are eligible to run for these positions. SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MANAGING THE UNION ONCE IT IS RECOGNIZED, JOIN THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE TODAY.
Each 100 union members (employees) will have their own steward. Union Stewards will receive a small stipend and are tasked with ensuring contract terms are being observed by GEICO. Stewards report workplace grievances to their union representatives. We will have approximately 2-3 union representatives, who will receive salaries similar to their GEICO salaries. The president, VP and treasurer will serve for limited terms. UNLIKE GEICO, ALL OF THE UNION'S FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES WILL BE 100% TRANSPARENT AND REPORTED PUBLICLY EACH YEAR.
Thirty percent of GEICO’s 2685 employees in region 8, need to sign the confidential signature cards to show their interest. These signatures are sent to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and within 30 days the NLRB holds a second confidential election for verification. In this second election only 51% of those who participate in the election (not the whole company) must vote "yes". At this point the union is recognized and GEICO is legally required to negotiate a contract with the union in good faith.
When confronted by workers seeking to unionize, the vast majority of employers hire professional consultants, or persuaders, to thwart workers’ efforts. Instead of improving working conditions, employers spend over $300 million per year on union-busting efforts. Here are the most common tactics used by employers trying to bust a union:
1-The employer hires a union-busting consultant or agency:
Instead of negotiating with employees, union-busting employers will hire consultants and spend thousands of dollars per employee in an effort to illegally prevent them from exercising their right to unionize.
2-The employer launches an astrotuf campaign against the union:
An “astroturf campaign” is exactly what it sounds like: a phony, fake attempt to mimic a grassroots movement. Employers will recruit a few anti-union employees to do their bidding and these employees will be lied to and manipulated. They will parrot the union-busting consultants’ talking points and distribute anti-union literature. Recently, union-busting employers even put money behind these astroturf campaigns, launch websites, and pay for advertisements in the community.
3-The employers Forces employees to join anti-union propaganda meetings:
This is about intimidation. Employees will be forced to have one-on-one meetings with management and even their union-busting consultants, but don't forget that it is illegal for the employer to ask if you support the union. If you are asked to join such meetings, record the entire conversation on your cellphone. New York is a one-party consent state. This means that only one party (YOU) must consent to the recording of an in-person or telephone conversation. So if you are present, you are legally allowed to record the conversation without the other party knowing.
4-The employer starts making promises:
Like an abusive ex, union-busting employers will start promising change. However, the only way to guarantee real change and hold an employer accountable is through a union.
5-The employer tries to cause delays:
Union-busting consultants will tell employers to delay, delay, delay. Their highly paid lawyers will pervert the law to delay union elections and/or contract negotiations in an attempt to create a feeling of futility within the workforce.
All non-management employees are eligible to join a union. Management is defined as those who are involved in hiring, firing, assigning workloads and promoting employees; however, employers have extensively litigated to have an increasing number of employees count as management in order to reduce the size of the union. If you are a supervisor and interested in joining the union, I would recommend that you sign the card, and if GEICO decides to exclude supervisors, we will fight for the right to include them in the union. In any event, I want to reiterate that your personal identities will never be exposed. All line agents (sales, service, UW, claims), supervisors, coaches, adjusters, attorneys, MDPs, mailroom associates and IT staff are encouraged to sign. Each department will have their own representatives at the bargaining table.
We are currently organizing GEICO's region 8 profit center, located in Buffalo, NY. GEICO has 10 profit centers. If you are a GEICO employee at a profit center other than region 8, please go ahead and sign the card. If we receive enough interest from your location, we will request that the NLRB recognizes your location along with ours. Geographical distance does not limit organizing efforts and it is up to us to tell the NLRB which locations are unionizing.