Tell IKEA to Respect its Workers!
  • Petitioned Mona Astra Liss

This petition was delivered to:

Corporate PR Director, Ikea USA
Mona Astra Liss
Human Resources Manager, Swedwood USA
Terri Rouleau

Tell IKEA to Respect its Workers!

    1. Taylor Leake
    2. Petition by

      Taylor Leake

      Philadelphia, PA

  1.  
  2.   
July 2011

Victory

As IKEA/Swedwood workers in Virginia voted to join a union today, more than 84,000 Change.org members were standing behind them.

In a historic union election, IKEA workers voted 221-69 in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). The union will now represent the employees at IKEA's only U.S. manufacturing plant. 

Reports BWI, "The workers have voted for a union but clearly the struggle is not over as the next major hurdle for the workers is to negotiate a successful collective bargaining agreement that improves worker safety, promotes respectful treatment, and puts an end to favoritism and discrimination." Change.org members will continue to support Danville's workers as they negotiate a fair contract with Swedwood.

It wasn't an easy victory. IKEA is the world's second-largest retailer (behind Wal-mart), and is the world's largest home-furnishing retailer. Workers at the plant, which makes products like the EXPEDIT bookcase, started complaining about racial discrimination and safety violations at Swedwood more than a year ago, and they turned to the machinists union in hopes of improving their workplace. But Swedwood blocked attempts by union organizers to come in and speak with their employees. In fact, despite IKEA's pro-union reputation in Europe, they hired the notorious union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis to consult for the company and hold captive audience meetings to intimidate workers.

Today, Swedwood workers prevailed. That was, in part, because they knew so many of us were standing behind them. Not only did more than 84,000 supporters sign a petition demanding a fair election without company interference, we also ran a full page ad in the local newspaper with your signatures. 

Congratulations to the workers at Swedwood. Thanks to your courage, you now have a voice at the table, the right to bargain as a group with management, and a real way to address your concerns at your workplace.

We love our POÄNG chairs and sensible shelving options, but not when they’re produced in dangerous, anti-union factories that exploit workers.

Swedwood, a furniture manufacturer owned by IKEA, is mistreating its workers at a factory in Danville, VA. Workers there say they face health and safety violations and racial discrimination, but when workers tried to organize a union to address some of these issues, Swedwood hired Jackson Lewis, a union-busting law firm that has, "been retained to advise many employers who have succeeded in winning NLRB elections or in avoiding union elections altogether." Workers were forced to attend a meeting with management where they were strongly discouraged from joining a union. Representatives from the Machinists union, on the other hand, have been refused entry to the plant, so they can't even speak with the workers.

IKEA's code of conduct specifically states that its suppliers shall not, "prevent workers from associating freely with any worker's association or group of their choosing, or from collective bargaining." Because IKEA owns this company outright, they need to step in and stop Swedwood from violating their own code of conduct.

Please write to Ikea and urge them to allow workers to freely organize a union and to investigate safety and discrimination issues at this plant.

Photo Credit: Håkan Dahlström

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Victory! Workers at IKEA's U.S. Plant Win Union Representation

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Wow! Workers at IKEA's Swedwood plant in Danville, Virginia just won an incredible victory. After a vote of 221 workers (76%) who voted for the union and 69 against, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) will now...

    2. Workers at IKEA's Swedwood Plant to Vote on Union Today

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      They have endured mandatory meetings, unsafe working conditions, alleged racial discrimination, and as reports recently revealed, sweltering hot temperatures inside the plant. Today, the workers at IKEA's Swedwood plant in Danville, Virginia, will...

    3. Union Vote Today!

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      IKEA workers in Danville, Virginia are finally voting on whether to join a union. We'll post the results here as soon as it becomes available, so stay tuned.

    4. Workers to vote on Union TOMORROW

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      Tomorrow, the workers at Swedwood's Virginia factory will vote on whether the Machinists union will represent them at the bargaining table. Let them know you stand by their right to organize by signing the petition!

    5. Full Page Ad in Today's Danville Newspaper

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Thousands of your signatures appeared in a full-page ad in today's Danville Register & Bee. To view the ad, click the link above.

    6. Swedwood Interferes in Union Election

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      BWI reports that the factory manager told Swedwood workers last week that their wages could go down if they voted in the union. This behavior directly violates IKEA's code of conduct, but IKEA execs continue to ignore what's happening in Danville.

    7. Great Value Thanks to Cheap Labor

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      New Haven Advocate takes a look at Ikea's Swedwood plant.

    8. A satire site has some fun with Ikea's labor troubles:

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      "We thought we might try to get celebrity endorsement," ... "But instead we ran a viral ad campaign featuring a very unexceptional, ordinary Labour leader, who just kept banging on and on about how people should get round their negotiating tables."

    9. Next Week is Vote for IKEA/Swedwood Union Week

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      As the labor election gets closer, the Machinists union is in a final push to win respect on the job for workers at Ikea's Swedwood factory in Virginia. They have declared July 18 to 25, “Vote for IKEA/Swedwood Union” week.

    10. Swedwood Insists on Adding 30 Workers to the Union Vote List

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      According to BWIW, IKEA Swedwood insisted on adding 30 team leaders in Danville to the vote list - a maneuver meant to block a favorable union vote. The vote is currently scheduled to occur on July 27th.

    11. Post to IKEA's Facebook wall

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Why has IKEA hired Jackson Lewis to hold captive audience meetings with workers at its Danville, Virginia factory? Ask this question and post a link to our petition by posting on IKEA's Facebook wall (linked above).

    12. Petition Signers Urge IKEA to "Fix It" in Danville

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      One commenter writes, "I just spent $152 at IKEA and certainly wouldn't have if I'd read this email this morning. Fix it IKEA, or no union household in America will shop there once they know."

    13. Is IKEA Dodging Taxes, Too?!

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Did you know that IKEA is partially owned by non-profit foundation? This complicated corporate structure allows IKEA to avoid paying a significant portion of its taxes.

    14. Your Response to IKEA's Labor Troubles

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      "I'm an interior designer, and I often purchase pieces from IKEA," says Change.org member Laura Baker. "I'm so disappointed to find out about the way the workers at IKEA are being treated, and will be following this story closely. It will effect my...

    15. American Ikea Workers Will Likely go Union Thanks to a Petition

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      Our campaign is getting noticed! Check out this article from Racked about our petition.

    16. Ask IKEA about this campaign on Twitter!

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      IKEA stores in the United States each have their own Twitter account. If you're on Twitter, use the link above to ask a local store why they're union-busting in IKEA's Danville, Virginia factory. Let's keep building pressure for workers' rights!

    17. Reached 75,000 signatures
    18. Swedish union leader meets workers in Danville

      Taylor Leake
      Petition Organizer

      The president of the union that represents Swedwood workers in Sweden met with the workers of Swedwood's Danville, Virginia store. Talk about international solidarity!

    19. Reached 50,000 signatures
    20. New labor rule could help workers at IKEA's Danville factory

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      What's in store for workers at IKEA's Danville plant? "We build our committees, they're all excited, then the employer starts drawing it out, beating up our workers," said union organizer Bill Street.

    21. More obstacles for workers at IKEA's Danville plant

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Union organizers had asked IKEA's Swedwood factory in Virginia to abide by their own code of conduct (known as the IWAY) by acknowledging workers' signed cards in favor of union representation - but the company refused.

    22. On July 4, Celebrate Freedom to Organize

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      As we're celebrating July 4th, IKEA workers in Virginia aren't free to organize and protect their basic rights. Will you join the campaign asking IKEA to treat their workers fairly?

    23. Daily Show Takes on IKEA

      Amanda Kloer
      Campaign Director

      Looking for a laugh this holiday? Check out Jon Stewart's commentary on IKEA.

    24. Post to IKEA's Facebook Wall

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Got something to say about IKEA's treatment of workers in the United States? Post your comments to the IKEA USA Facebook wall. Tell IKEA to stop union-busting and respect their workers' right to form a union!

    25. Reached 40,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Olufemi Oladokun TRIUMPH ROAD, NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 3 years ago

      Jehovah the Almighty God who created humans in his own image says "workers... keep crying out and" their "calls for help" ... "have entered into His ears" (James 5:4). "I will become a speedy witness against ... those acting fraudulently with the wages of a wage worker" (Malachi 3:5).

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Martin Guest BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 3 years ago

      Guess who won't buy another item from IKEA until they allow their workers and those of associated companies the basic democratic right of being free to join a Union of their choice.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lori Rachal TEXARKANA, TX
      • about 3 years ago

      Karma ! What goes around comes around ppl haven't u learned that yet! Do right by your employees ! Shame on u :( R.E.S.P.E.C.T give some an u will get some in return. Don't an watch your business fail in the blink of an eye. How can ppl treat another person like this! Is that how how u would want to be treated ?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Treana Atkins ROCK HILL, SC
      • about 3 years ago

      My parents have been part of the boilermakers union my entire life. My husbands family was part of the Matewan union fiasco back in the day. Unions are necessary for exactly the problem with the employees at IKEA. Swedish Co. or not, if you're in America, you should face the respective union and straighten up your act. With the swift moving of social media, it will take 1/2 a day to organize a nationwide boycott of IKEA products. Your sales will plummet and your factories will suffer. Do the right thing for your employees, they are the backbone of your industry. Without them, you have nothing.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Inger Arvidsson GIMO, SWEDEN
      • about 3 years ago

      Arbetarnas rättigheter är viktigt, de får inte behandlas illa.Rätt till fackföreningar och som ska kunna fungera borde vara en självklarhet!

      Inger Arvidsson.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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