By COLIN STAUB
Employees at a Portland-based children’s nutrition advocacy group have voted to remain nonunion.
Workers at the Alliance For A Healthier Generation contacted Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 11 last year expressing interest in unionizing their portion of the workplace. The nonprofit organization is made up entirely of employees working remotely throughout the United States, said OPEIU Local 11 executive secretary-treasurer Maureen Goldberg.
Alliance For A Healthier Generation works with schools, youth organizations and more to promote children’s health. It was founded in 2005 as a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association, and Chelsea Clinton is on the organization’s board of directors.
On Dec. 31 OPEIU asked the NLRB to conduct a union election. When ballots were tallied March 15, 19 voted for the union and 27 against it, out of 53 eligible voters.
Goldberg said the remote workforce created challenges for organizing. Some employees were in right-to-work states, for example, and union reps had to explain those laws and how unionizing would impact those workers.
Alliance For A Healthier Generation, represented by Portland-based CDR Labor Law, also waged a campaign to fight the union effort, Goldberg said. Management held meetings and shared literature with employees to persuade them out of unionizing.
The Labor Press contacted the non-profit’s management for comment but did not hear back.
Alliance For A Healthier Generation management also introduced a union-alternative plan in which a core group of employees would be designated to talk with management about employees’ concerns, Goldberg said. But the bottom line was that the employer still would have the discretion to take action or not. In the end, a majority of voters shot down the union effort.