Managers at a Georgian facility at the Iron Mountain company took a shot at trying to talk their workers out of joining a union. The discussion was recorded as the two managers “educated” the workers.

“This is the South. This is not something where unions are [prevalent],” says one manager. “If the union comes in, it will make it much more difficult to get things done.” When the other manager addresses the employees, he says of their union campaign, “I can’t help but take it personally… it does hurt. It does sting.”

Who knew unionizing a workplace was done to insult management?

The lecture from management went beyond a guilt trip over perceived insults to a testimonial from one of the managers about his extensive experience working in a unionized workforce – the appeal to authority was pushed back on by one of the workers themselves.

At one point, a manager tells the workers, “No one in this room has more union experience than me.” At that, one worker speaks up to note that he was in a union for five years at a previous workplace, and tells a story of how the union helped save his job after the company tried to fire him unjustly. “Well shame on the company,” replies the manager, “but we don’t do that here.” (The worker’s previous employer would no doubt say the same thing.)

During an attempt to unionize a workplace management is allowed to talk to the workers provided there is no intimidation. Something the managers clearly understood as they continually referenced “intimidation” but in the context of those who wanted the union not intimidating those that did not.

As the vote to unionize nears the workers at the Duluth facility are likely to face more lectures and emotional appeals.