November 20, 2009 Volume 110 Number 22

Geek Squad election withdrawn

Hopes that local Geek Squad workers might unionize will have to wait. Members of a unit of 24 home theater installers working at Oregon and Southwest Washington Best Buy stores signed cards seeking to join International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48. Local 48 petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Sept. 8 to hold an election, and the federal agency scheduled one Nov. 5. They would have been the first Best Buy workers in America to unionize.

But the day before the election, the union withdrew the petition.

Local 48 organizer Terry Reigle said Best Buy anti-union maneuvers diluted union support and made the outcome too close for comfort. Attorneys for the company persuaded the NLRB that a group of 13 computer techs — workers who had not sought out the union — should be included in the proposed bargaining unit. And weekly mandatory-attendance anti-union meetings held as late as Nov. 3 succeeded in creating doubts among some union supporters.

Reigle said pro-union Geek Squad workers were supportive of the decision to pull the petition.

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