The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against IKEA USA alleging unfair labor practices at the company’s store in Stoughton, Mass. The complaint alleges that the company violated federal law by unlawfully interrogating employees about their support for a union. The complaint further finds fault with the company’s social media policy, finding the policy to be overly broad and infringing on the right of workers to engage in protected activity.
“My coworkers and I came together to make IKEA better because we love our jobs and we believed in the company’s values,” said Nancy Goetz, a worker in the Stoughton IKEA. “In other countries, IKEA works collaboratively with the workers’ unions to solve problems. I never thought that IKEA would allow supervisors to intimidate and interrogate us. I expected more from IKEA. I expected that my rights would be respected.”
IKEA Group is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), an international compact that prohibits companies from interfering with workers’ freedom of association. IKEA has incorporated Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, into the company’s internal code of conduct. Conventions 87 and 98 relate to freedom of association and the right of collective bargaining.
Freedom of association for American workers is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a law that protects workers’ rights to take collective action, form unions and bargain collectively. The Act also prohibits employers from engaging in certain coercive or intimidating tactics for the purpose of preventing workers from freely exercising their rights under the Act. Prohibited tactics are considered Unfair Labor Practices and are prosecuted by the NLRB.
“This complaint sadly shows that IKEA does not treat hard-working American families with the same respect that the company shows to workers in other parts of the world,” said Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “Every American worker has a fundamental right to come together and take collective action to improve their jobs. The UFCW stands with these workers, and together we will hold IKEA to a higher standard.”
To show solidarity with IKEA workers, UFCW locals across the country have been holding leafleting actions at stores. This week, members of UFCW Local 1996 passed out flyers to workers and customers at an IKEA store near Atlanta.