BUSINESS Labor Unions File Complaint of 'Anti-Union Behavior' at Luxottica Manufacturing and Distribution Center in McDonough, Ga. By Staff Friday, July 16, 2021 12:21 AM WASHINGTON, GENEVA, and MILAN—The Communications Workers of America (CWA), joined by the AFL-CIO and two Geneva-based global unions said they filed a complaint yesterday under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Guidelines (OECD) for Multinational Enterprises alleging "violations of workers’ freedom of association rights at the Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in McDonough, Ga." The complaint states that Luxottica plant managers in Georgia have conducted "an aggressive campaign to thwart workers’ organizing rights, and that global management in Paris and Milan have failed to exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with OECD Guidelines."Those guidelines require multinational firms not to interfere with workers’ organizing rights," according to standards of the International Labor Organization and that they call for “a positive approach toward trade unions and an open attitude toward organizational activities of workers.” The Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in Georgia employs 2,000 U.S. workers. Luxottica is a division of the EssilorLuxottica group. Among its claims, the unions’ complaint cites management’s use of a company-issued app called “LiveSafe.” The union claims the company "uses it to send anti-union broadsides about purported 'risks' of union organizing." With the organizing efforts in Georgia and corporate headquarters in Paris and Milan, the labor group said it is filing their complaint simultaneously with the National Contact Points of the United States, France, and Italy. The three NCPs will coordinate their handling of the case. “We’re turning an international spotlight on Luxottica’s interference with workers’ organizing rights in Georgia,” said CWA president Chris Shelton. “Luxottica workers in Italy have long been represented by trade unions, who have a positive, mutually respectful and productive relationship with Italian management. We want to ensure that Luxottica workers in the U.S. are treated with the same respect,” he said. IndustriALL is the Geneva-based global union federation for the manufacturing sector worldwide, representing more than 50 million workers in 140 countries, including thousands of EssilorLuxottica workers. UNI-affiliated unions represent more than 20 million workers in 150 countries, including thousands of EssilorLuxottica retail workers worldwide. OECD Guidelines call for NCPs to decide within three months whether to accept the case for review and sponsor mediation of the dispute, after giving workers, unions, companies and investors an opportunity to submit their views. “We hope that a mediation sponsored by the NCPs can align U.S. management policy with Luxottica’s home-based policy of bargaining with unions on a mutually respectful basis,” said Carl Kennebrew, president of IUE-CWA, the union’s manufacturing division, who is overseeing the organizing effort at the McDonough facility. In response to the claims, Luxottica's U.S. spokesperson issued the following statement, "Luxottica is proud to be a company that puts its people first, with a long history rooted in employee safety and well-being. In every region where we operate, we show our commitment through competitive pay and benefits, perks such as subsidized meals, special employee engagement activities and an open door policy. We maintain strong and productive relationships with unions globally, wherever our employees choose to be represented by them." The statement noted, "In Atlanta, our employees overwhelmingly voted in favor of a direct relationship with us instead of union representation less than three years ago." The statement continued, "Communication has been a critical tool in keeping our teams here well-informed and bringing reassurance and clarity to the workplace. The LiveSafe app, for example, was introduced in 2018, and remains a valuable platform for reaching those employees without access to email. "All employee communications here or elsewhere that have referred to unions are in compliance with U.S. labor laws and common practice for U.S. companies whose employees expect to be informed and educated on topics that directly affect them. We continue to work hard on their behalf to provide the kind of safe, comfortable and inclusive environment that makes us a leading employer in Georgia."