At ADT Security Systems in Beaverton, a group of workers who install and service home and business security systems voted 14 to 10 on March 4 to remain nonunion — rejecting a call to join International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48.
Nearly half the workforce there had signed a petition in favor of unionizing when ADT workers first contacted Local 48 to talk about unionizing, and Local 48 asked the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 21 to schedule an election. But in the weeks leading up to the vote, an in-house attorney who specializes in union avoidance was brought in to lead four anti-union meetings.
The attorney told them about a group of 19 ADT workers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who voted to join IBEW Local 342 in 2013. ADT dragged out negotiations over a first contract for nearly two years, and refused to budge from its final offer, which would have slashed employees’ wages by up to 30 percent. It then locked the workers out in February 2015, and replaced them with outside contractors.
Local 48 lead organizer Tim Foster says that spooked some of the workers in Beaverton — despite the fact that IBEW has collective bargaining agreements covering about 1,000 ADT workers at 38 locations, including Seattle and Tacoma. 2,200 workers 40 collective bargaining agreements.
ADT pays the Beaverton technicians $25 to $40 an hour, far below the $50 an hour rate that equivalent workers make in Local 48’s low-voltage sound and communications side.
ADT, based in Boca Raton, Florida, has 17,000 employees. In 2014, its CEO Naren Gursahaney received $5.5 million in compensation. In February, ADT announced it’s being acquired by the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a $6.9 billion leveraged buyout. Apollo intends to merge ADT with Protection 1 and and ASG Security, two other security companies it owns.