Menard’s anti-worker attitude earns NLRB investigation

menardsCompany has long-standing record of anti-union efforts

Seems as if the anti-worker, anti-union attitude at Menards just keeps on rolling.

The latest in a continuing saga of anti-union efforts by the Midwest hardware chain occurred Feb. 18 in Indiana where a federal judge has stopped Menards from enforcing an arbitration agreement that Menards imposed on its workers until the NLRB investigates, saying that the corporation’s requirement that employees resolve disputes with the company through binding arbitration is overly broad and restricts their right to remedies under the National Labor Relations Act.

OPEIU Local 153 Union Representative Seth Goldstein says these stays against companies are rare.

Janet Payne was bringing an Americans With Disabilities Act charge against Menards when the company invoked the arbitration agreement restrictions on her ability to seek legal relief. Menard’s requires its employees to sign these arbitration agreements when they’re hired.

Notes an article in the People’s World:

“Rather amazingly, given its decades-long record in resisting unions, Menards – owned by billionaire John Menards, a major contributor to right-wing candidates – has never before had to face such NLRB scrutiny.”


Previously the Labor Tribune had reported that Menard’s employment agreement with its managers says that if union activity is found in a store, or the union wins an organizing drive, the manager will be punished with a 60 percent cut in wages.

Other examples of Menard’s anti-worker attitude:

  • Billionaire owner John Menard Jr. gave more than $1.5 million to the Wisconsin Club for Growth in an effort to boost Gov. Scott Walker‘s campaign in the 2012 recall.
  • Employees are forced to sit through anti-union seminars.
  • The company’s anti-union attitude is clearly outlined in its employee handbook. “Menards is non-union, and believes there is an advantage in remaining non-union…Menards will make ever moral and legal effort to maintain our good Team Member relations.”
  • Among the company’s “moral and legal effort to maintain our good Team Member relations,” according to the complaint by OPEIU, is an unlawful attempt to ban gossiping in the workplace. In a portion of a Menards “Team Member Pay Rate Increase Merit Review Eligibility Notice” document listing the reasons that a manager might cite for denying a raise to an employee — a list in which “Gossips” is prominently included.

“Not only is banning ‘gossip’ an insanely vague and intrusive rule, but the NLRB ruled just last year that a company’s “no gossip policy” was against the law,” an article in Gawker notes.

  • OPEIU charges that employees have been canned without being given a reason and there’s a $810 fee to get a copy of their personal file if they want to dispute discipline.
  • Salon on line reports that one former manager told a Milwaukee Magazine reporter that he wasn’t allowed to hire two job candidates because, while in high school, they had worked as baggers in a union-organized grocery store.

(Information for this story from Workers Independent News, People’s World, Daily Kos’, Yahoo News and Gawker.)



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