Cintas says House leaders misled on union ‘letter-signing’ ceremony

JULY 9–CINCINNATI–On news of a union-led Congressional letter-signing ceremony, cleanroom garment maker Cintas Corp. reiterated today its steadfast support of its employees’ right to government- supervised elections — despite union efforts to circumvent the election process and gain representation against the employees’ will.

“Our dispute with these unions is not about unionization,” said Cintas CEO Bob Kohlhepp, citing that the company already has several hundred employees under union contracts. “Rather, this is about how people are unionized.”

“We believe people deserve the right to government-supervised democratic elections,” he said, “but the unions want to pressure companies into making agreements to take this right away — we believe that’s un-American.”

Unions have stated publicly that they seek to gain Cintas employees as members by circumventing the government-supervised election process, in favor of a “card check” process that is unregulated, unmonitored and fraught with union abuses.

“We steadfastly support employee choice and will never surrender our employees’ right to an election — that is, through deals with unions called ‘card-check neutrality,” Kohlhepp said. “Such deals only circumvent the government-supervised process and rob individuals of their rights to free elections.”

Kohlhepp also asked: “What if we elected our public officials by ‘card check neutrality’? What if we allowed individual candidates an open-ended period — of up to 18 months or more — to collect petition signatures as a means to gain public office, rather than a supervised election? What if we prevented one candidate from speaking out on the issues in a ‘neutrality’ agreement, while their opponent was free to say anything to get signatures on the petition?”

The company’s well-documented policy toward unions is straightforward: “We believe people have the right to say yes, and the freedom to say no, to union membership.”

To emphasize his commitment to employee choice, Kohlhepp pointed to recent petitions generated voluntarily by Cintas employees speaking out against union allegations — particularly statements that the unions speak for all of Cintas employees.

“We are tired of seeing and being continually harassed by (the union) both at our location and outside of our workplace, not to mention the visits to our homes in attempt to recruit support for your union,” one of the employee petitions against the union reads. “We hope that (the union) realizes that we are unhappy and indignant by the false information you have circulated in our community and that you recognize that the majority of us are pleased with our jobs and work environment.”

Employees at Cintas have generated many such petitions to the National Labor Relations Board and the unions, speaking out against union tactics and allegations. Kohlhepp also noted that the recent unionizing efforts were not initiated by Cintas employees, but rather by a union that is losing 6,500 members a year.

“This clearly demonstrates the union’s gross exaggerations about ‘workers who are trying to organize,” Kohlhepp said. “I would hope that our members of Congress will seek the facts before putting their signatures on any document.”


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