Case story

  • Austria

OECD NCP Austria - UNITE et al. vs. Brylane Inc.

USA 2003

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Story

The complaint alleges Brylane, a specialty catalog retailer, and parent company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute’s (PPR) treatment of employees constitutes a systematic attempt to deny employees’ rights to freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. Brylane has refused to respect its employees’ request for representation by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, AFL-CIO, CLC (also known as “UNITE!”). In October 2001, workers employed by Brylane in Indiana initiated an effort to form a union for the purposes of collective bargaining. Brylane and PPR have responded with a campaign of harassment and intimidation.

Examples of the company’s tactics in this campaign include:

1) establishment of Brylane Associates Against UNITE! a company- created, financed and controlled employee committee; 2) pervasive and relentless distribution of anti-union literature; 3) regularly subjecting employees to mandatory anti-union meetings during which many of the aforementioned statements intended to alarm employees are continuously reiterated; 4) providing explicit instructions as to how employees may revoke the union card they signed freely of their own accord thereby denying the exercising of freedom of association; 5) discriminating against and denying advancement to employees who voice support for unionization; 6) threatening employees who speak out in favor of unionization.

Outcome

UNITE withdrew the case filed after it reached an agreement with Brylane in January 2003 to allow union organizing to proceed at the Indiana facility.

References

OECD Watch case story page:  http://oecdwatch.org/cases/Case_28

Contributor(s): This article was modified by Kyle (7), Nicolaclayre (3).