Angelica Textile Services V UNITE-HERE

Overview

NCP Decision Rejected
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 03/08/2004
Date Closed 01/06/2005
Case Duration 43 weeks and 1 days
Host Country US  (OECD member)
Issue(s) Right to organise; occuaptional health and safety; training
Provisions Cited II.1  IV.1-a  IV.2-b  IV.4-b  VII.1   
Related Cases ABN Amro Bank V UNITE-HERE
Life Uniform V UNITE-HERE and CATY

Case Description In August 2004, UNITE-HERE submitted a case to both the Dutch and the US NCP regarding the conduct of Angelica Textile Services, a healthcare laundry service provider in the US. The company had obtained investment funding from LaSalle Bank, a division of Dutch ABN Amro Bank. As a business partner, UNITE-HERE contended that the bank should encourage Angelica Textile Services to apply the Guidelines or principles compatible with the Guidelines. Although Angelica Textile Services was not a multinational enterprise, UNITE-HERE based its case on the fact that the Guidelines provide recommendations that are good practice for all and that multinational and domestic enterprises are subject to the same expectations.

UNITE-HERE alleged that Angelica Textile Services was in breach of a number of provisions of the Guidelines regarding: failure to provide training on core job duties and health and safety; failure to provide adequate occupational health and safety including, for example, failure to provide workers with Hepatitis B vaccinations, which is required. Moreover, it did not respect the right of its employees to be represented by trade unions. Finally, it did not meet the agreed or legally required standards for consumer health and safety. It had among other things failed to meet hospital laundry quality standards by not separating soiled and clean linen.

Developments The US NCP replied that 'further action' would not be appropriate given that Angelica Textile Services was a US company and that the issue concerned its operations in the US. It did however commit itself to informing the company of the issue raised.
Outcome In mid-September 2004, the unions requested the NCP to reconsider the complaint arguing that domestic companies were subject to the same expectations as multinationals. They also stressed the international link to ABN Amro Bank (see other Guidelines case involving ABN Amro Bank).

LaSalle Bank met with the senior management of Angelica in response to a letter from UNITE-HERE. According to LaSalle Bank, its client 'is committed to responsible citizenship'.

In June 2005, UNITE-HERE and Angelica came to an understanding and resolved the dispute. They agreed that employees at Angelica non-union facilities would have the right to decide whether they wanted to be represented by UNITE-HERE. New, tentative collective bargaining agreements were also negotiated for those facilities where existing agreements had expired.

Organisations

Lead NCP Netherlands NCP : Independent Expert Body 
Lead NCP US NCP : Single Department with Interagency Working Group 

Companies

Multinational Company Angelica Textile Services (Home country: US)
Financier ABN Amro Bank (Home country: Netherlands)
Financier LaSalle Bank Corporation (Home country: US)

Complainants

Lead Complainant UNITE-HERE : Regional/state sectoral union 

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

Implications

The case concerned activities in the domestic market - not in international investment.