Architectural Workers United (AWU), a division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board “against North American architecture firm Snøhetta for violating their employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act,” a press release stated.
The ULP charge pertains to Snøhetta’s alleged unlawful discrimination “against several employees because of their support for union organizing.” Snøhetta managing director Elaine Molinar is the “employer representative” named in the lawsuit. The full ULP charge can be found here.
“We trust that the National Labor Relations Board, upon hearing the evidence, will rule accordingly and in favor of the workers,” said David Sullivan, IAM Eastern Territory general vice president. “Today’s filing sends a message to the architecture industry that they are no different from any other industry and that if employers use illegal tactics to obstruct their employees from organizing, they will be held accountable.”
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As reported by AN, two of the Norwegian firm’s U.S. offices filed a petition to form a union with the NLRB this past May. AWU alleges that, shortly after the announcement, Snøhetta hired “an anti-union firm to defeat workers’ efforts for a better future.” In July, workers at the firm voted 35-29 against forming a union. The tally seemingly put an end to Snøhetta’s drive to unionize. In September, employees of multidisciplinary design practice Bernheimer Architecture formed the first—and still only—functional union at a private-sector architecture firm in the United States.
“We don’t really have anything to add right now other than that we trust in the Labor Board process and will continue to support workers in this profession,” said David DiMaria of IAM. “That means working with employers who have genuine interest in uplifting the profession but also holding those accountable who violate the law.”