Organizers at UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, offered a holiday greeting on behalf of Brylane’s Indianapolis, Indiana distribution center workers, via a send-up of Brylane’s own holiday catalog, featuring injured Brylane employees as models.
The eight page 2002 holiday catalog, with photos of employees and their families posed like Brylane models, relays captions describing injuries and conditions related to poor ergonomics and safety. UNITE officials have been working to organize Brylane’s Indianapolis, Indiana, employees on the basis of injury-causing working conditions; however, no union is currently in place.
According to an article in DM News, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) upheld a decision last month by the Indianapolis NLRB that would allow Brylane employees to decide whether or not to unionize through an employer neutrality and card-check recognition process. The decision was intended to require Brylane to remain neutral regarding the union until the majority of its workers had a registered union card, at which time Brylane would have agreed to recognize the employee union. Brylane, however, has appealed that decision, stating that the company would prefer that its employees vote on whether or not to unionize.
Brylane, owned by parent company Pinault-Printemps-Redouts (PPR), bills itself as “America’s Specialty Catalog Leader.” Catalogs produced by Brylane include Lane Bryant, Chadwick’s of Boston, and Lerner. According to UNITE, the union’s actions are intended to get Brylane to voluntarily recognize a union for the company’s estimated 1500 employees at Brylane’s Indianapolis distribution center and nearby call center.