Union busters file disclosures at Schoolhouse Electric

By DON McINTOSH

On Dec. 28, five months after union busters were hired in a failed effort to stop workers at Schoolhouse Electric from unionizing, the consultants disclosed their hire to the U.S. Department of Labor, as required by federal law.

Schoolhouse assembles and ships high-end lighting fixtures and home furnishings from a four-story brick building in Northwest Portland, and in December 2021 it was sold for $48 million to the online goods marketplace Food52.

As the Labor Press reported in August, Schoolhouse Electric brought in Libra Management Consulting Inc. of Bonita, California, to hold small group anti-union meetings that lasted 90 to 120 minutes. Workers said union buster Eduardo Padilla did the talking, while an associate named Alex took notes. The union buster disclosure form, known as an LM-20, identifies that associate as Alex Rique, and says Libra Management was brought in by yet another union-busting firm, Quest Consulting of Las Vegas, Nevada. The agreement between Andrew Bohl of Schoolhouse Electric and Jessica Thomas of Quest Consulting was signed on July 25, two full weeks before workers asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election.

Unlike the disclosures for union staff and officers, which list compensation down to the penny, the information the government requires union-busters to file is pretty bare-bones, and typically does not include what they were paid. Whatever they were paid, the consultants failed in their mission. In ballots counted Oct. 13, workers voted 31-24 to join IBEW Local 48.  

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