Facilities Management Company: Labor Strike

Client

One of the largest facilities management companies in the U.S.

Overview

Thousands of union employees took to the streets in a major East Coast city during an emotional, noisy strike that raged for several weeks. Seventeen buildings were targeted. Some blocked traffic. Initially, the mayor and two U.S. senators backed the strikers. Advocacy groups joined in, and even students began picketing. Wherever it turned, the company found itself being portrayed as "public enemy #1."

Strategy and Plan

Building off a theme of "good jobs at good wages," N&A recommended a response blending paid and non-paid communications tactics. Within hours, our firm was on-site writing a full-page ad to appear in Sunday newspapers with a circulation of 1 million. Ads in Spanish and English followed on radio. The CEO was profiled in a highly regarded business column. A delegation visited Washington. A company spokesperson fought back hard, refuting union claims of low wages and poor health care benefits.

Results

News coverage became more balanced. Negative rhetoric from the business community, building owners and politicians subsided. After hearing the other side of the story, the mayor supported management and played a major role in bringing labor negotiations to a successful conclusion. In the end, the offer the strikers accepted an offer that was not as good as an earlier offer on the table. The wage increases were smaller than those won in similar strikes and only a small percentage of strikers gained any additional health coverage.

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