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A Texas Jr. College Primer Lesson II: “In Unity Is Perversity” By Kevin E. Bailey Houston A new trend in education is unionbusting; a technique long practiced by private industry in the United States. It involves the use of professional consultants to stop the unionization of employees. Violent anti-union techniques of the past are no longer used. Sweet-talking consultants teach employers how to use sophisticated methods and psychological gimmicks to prevent the growth of unions. A U.S. House subcommittee reported recently that outside laborrelations advisers gross more than $500 million a year, typically charging clients $700 a day plus expenses. In the field of education, public tax money is being used to pay for these “union-busting” consultants, and North Harris County College in Houston is one of the public institutions that have hired these professionals to stop the organizing efforts of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFL-CIO’s Public Employee Depublic officials have spent “millions of dollars on union-busting campaigns. . . . State and local administrators are apparently taking the cue from the anti-union government consultant firms that are used by private sector employers. . . . Public officials are attending seminars on `maintaining a union free status’ . . . and are hiring hardline attorneys. . . .” In Florida, school boards in Pasco and Duval counties employed professional consultants to stop the growth of AFT locals. Administrators began a public relations blitz, which included sending intimidating letters to teachers. Both boards were later found guilty of violations of the law. In the higher education field in Florida, the State University Board of Regents also employed anti-union consultants whose primary activity was a series of statements and letters aimed at convincing employees that it was not in their interest to join a union. Unionbusters have also been employed by Brevard Community College, MiamiDade Community College, Palm Beach and Hillsborough Community Colleges, and Valencia Community College. which formed the Valencia Community College Foundation, Inc., to fund its anti-union activities because of protests by citizens over the spending of tax dollars for such purposes. Colleges like these regularly try to neutralize unions with personal conferences, threatening letters, and attempts to develop a split between rival faculty organizations, culminating in the installation of a friendly union or other organization to represent employees. The consultants who are brought in advise their clients to appear to advocate a humane, benevolent, almost disinterested concern for the common good. At the same time, unions are portrayed as harmful to employees, causing divisiveness, and costing workers money in dues. The presence of “union outsiders” is portrayed as being disruptive. Many union-busters maintain that the failure to communicate effectively with employees causes unionization. They recommend to management that they communicate more and convince employees to identify with their employers. Reporter Steven Lagerfeld notes that one consultant’s manual states: “If management is clever about the thing, it can also make the employees feel they are involved in some of the decisions affecting them even though the employer planned to do it all along.” One organization in the union-busting business is known as Executive Enterprises, Inc. This group holds seminars throughout the country, teaching employers how to “make unions unnecessary” and to “maintain non-union status.” Two seminars were recently held in Dallas, where the topics discussed included “Shaping Employee Thinking,” “How to implement your intention to stay non-union,” “Restrictions of union activity,” and “Assure that employees have positive attitudes toward the company.” A recent study of union-busting by attorney John Bernstein found that consultants often advise their clients to screen out potential employees who might likely join a union. They are told to stay away particularly from blacks and hispanics and people who are actively involved in civic groups and other organizations, particularly liberal ones like the ACLU. NAACP, or tenants’ rights groups. These professional union-busters suggest that employers communicate their negative views on unions to employees and tell workers that they should be able to “speak for themselves” and that dues are expensive. Consultants suggest that management “highlight seemingly inconsistent statements made by the union.” The goal is either to anger or to frighten workers. Management often tries to isolate union members and to make them appear as “deviants.” Often management establishes a system of rewards and punishments and creates a “routinized anxiety” designed to convince workers that union membership will lead to insecurity, endangered job security, hostility by supervisors, and possible loss of job. Often front-line supervisors are used to monitor union activity and intimidate workers, and employers establish rigid rules to prevent pro-union workers from persuading others to join. Some consultants provide a union-prevention checklist of things to do. IN HOUSTON, at North Harris have been spent and “outsiders” brought in to “bust the union.” College President W. W. Thorne and board member Floyd Hoffman attended a conference on November 10-12, 1980, sponsored by the Valencia Community College Foundation, Inc. Entitled “Maintaining NonUnion Status in Colleges and Universities,” the program included such top union-busters as Myron Lieberman of Educational Employment Services, Kenneth Winters of Winters Associates, and William McHugh, an anti-union attorney. Topics included “Conducting Your Institution’s Union Vulnerability Audit,” “What to Do When the Union Knocks,” and “Maintaining Non-Union Status.” The college spent $700 on October 16, 1980. for the conference registration fee. On October 28, it spent $419 for Thorne and Hoffman to fly to the conference, held in Tampa, and on November 6, $200 was issued as a travel advance. In January, 1981, Thorne, accompanied by two or three board members, traveled to Austin and attended a meeting with William McHugh, the union-busting attorney from Florida who spoke at the Valencia conference. Later on February 8 JUNE 4, 1982