image of striking workers in the US, courtsey of Human Rights Watch & Vna Wert Times Bulletin
Thanks to Antony Loewenstein for making me aware of this report A Strange Case: Violations of Workers Freedom of Association in the United States by European Multinational Corporations by Human Rights Watch.
As Antony points out don't expect to see any reporting of this story in the Australian media.
The report shows that many European companies which claim to embrace workers rights under voluntary global standards actually undermine workers rights in the US. Those companies have actively carried out aggressive campaigns to deny workers their rights to organize and bargain.
Among the violations documented in the report are practices of forcing workers into "captive audience" meetings to hear anti-union harangues while prohibiting pro-union voices, threatening dire consequences if workers form unions, threatening to permanently replace workers who exercise the right to strike, spying on employee organizers, and even firing workers who support organizing efforts at companies.
"The behavior of these companies casts serious doubt on the value of voluntary commitments to human rights," said Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "Companies need to be held accountable, to their own stated commitments and to strong legal standards."