Workers at the Kumho Tire factory in Macon, Ga. have narrowly voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.
The initial vote count showed 141 votes for the union and 137 against, with 13 challenged ballots still to be resolved at an upcoming hearing, according to the United Steelworkers union. About 325 workers would be in the USW bargaining unit at Kumho.
An administrative law judge issued an order in May for a new vote at the Kumho factory after finding that company officials violated workers’ rights during the first election in October 2017.
Following that initial vote, which resulted in a narrow defeat for the union, the USW filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing the company of illegal conduct in its effort to suppress the union.
According to a press release by the USW, Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan wrote in his ruling that the company’s illegal conduct was “pervasive” and that it warranted not only a new election but the “extraordinary” remedy of requiring company officials to read a notice to all of its employees outlining the specific ways in which they violated the workers’ rights.
Kumho’s violations, Amchan said, included illegally interrogating employees, threatening to fire union supporters, threatening plant closure and creating an impression of surveillance, among other threats to workers.