19 March 2021

Don't Give to the Audubon Society

As I have noted before, "You Don't Do Good by Doing Bad," and this goes double for charities that go full scorched earth to suppression union drives, as is the case, unfortunately, for The Audubon Society, which has chosen to go on a jihad against its employees unionization efforts:

As President Biden touts union jobs as central to America's clean energy future, a fight over unionizing has broken out at one of the country's leading conservation groups.

Employees at the National Audubon Society are organizing after allegations of widespread workplace problems, including two rounds of layoffs, a mishandled diversity training, and the resignations of two top equity and inclusion officials.

They say they are meeting sharp resistance from the group's management, which has hired one of the country's most well-known union-busting firms.

Audubon strongly disagrees with that characterization, saying that it does not oppose the effort and that the firm, Littler Mendelson PC, was hired to provide advice to managers to stay out of the organizers' way — not to break them up.
Littler Mendelson PC is notorious for busting unions, and half of their own web pages tout their "Union Avoidance" strategies.

But tensions between the organizers, who have rallied under an "Audubon for All" banner, and management nevertheless seem to have quickly reached a boil. They claim Audubon management is deploying some of Littler's tactics, and they filed a complaint this week with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Audubon's management is improperly meddling in their organizing effort.


In an emailed statement, Audubon said it is "devoted to providing a workplace in which all our employees feel respected, valued, and empowered."


Audubon insisted that Littler is not advising the organization on how to combat the unionizing effort. But Littler's website states that's one of its specialties, and a handbook from the firm obtained by E&E News lays out multiple strategies for fighting unionization efforts.

"Our deep experience in representing management serves as a strong counterpoint to the world's most powerful labor organizations," its website states. "We guide companies in developing and initiating strategies that lawfully avoid unions or effectively respond to unconventional corporate campaigns."

Union officials, including from CWA, said Audubon is setting itself apart at the wrong time.

Gee, ya think?


President and CEO David Yarnold's handling of the anonymous survey, including allegedly asking for the names of participants, led to the October resignation of one senior diversity specialist, Devon Trotter. Another official, Deeohn Ferris, left the previous March and said she was forced out.

Those developments coincided with two rounds of layoffs, in which 108 employees were let go. One round took place last June, and another, larger round was announced on Earth Day last April.

It appears that the management wants to run the company like a business, burn it down for the insurance money.


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