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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

RJ Reynolds and BAT Attack Union Rights in the United States

Posted to the IUF website 05-May-2006

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Reynolds American, formed from the merger, in 2004, of RJ Reynolds and Brown & Williamson, BAT's US subsidiary, has launched an anti-union campaign in the run-up to a union vote which is to take place on May 11.

IUF affiliate BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union) and the IAM (Machinists and Aerospace Workers) are jointly organizing Reynolds American's 2 tobacco manufacturing plants in Winston-Salem in the US state of North Carolina. Together, these two unions represent over 9,000 workers in the US tobacco industry. Although the majority of the 2,000 production and maintenance workers at the plants signed a petition in favor of union representation, the company has opted to call for a ballot under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board - and is now conducting a hostile, anti-union scare campaign designed to influence workers and pressure them to reject union representation. They have coerced and intimidated workers; they have resorted to misinformation and outright lying. Most significantly, they have threatened to shut down Reynolds, which has been part of the Winston-Salem community for over 100 years, and move production to Mexico and/or Puerto Rico.

As part of the campaign to prevent a vote in favor of union representation on May 11, the company, with the help of consultants and lawyers, has launched a specially constructed web site to spread the NO UNION message. The site contains a number of video messages to workers which offer a glimpse at the coercive tactics being used to influence workers.


Tell Reynolds to respect workers' rights to unionize!

Log onto www.reynoldspride.com and click "feedback" to send a message demanding that they stop this vicious campaign and leave the decision up to the workers. Express your indignation over the misinformation being spread about unions and the offensively patronizing treatment of workers.

Send solidarity messages to Reynolds workers!
Log onto the website of the United Tobacco Alliance, jointly set up by BCTGM and the IAM and click on “Workers speak out” to post a message encouraging the workers to stand firm, highlighting the advantages of union representation and giving them the confidence to vote YES UNION.

The IUF thanks you in advance for your support and solidarity in this important struggle!