Tompkins Workers’ Center Wins Major Workers Rights Case Against Regis Corporation

Agrees to Remove “Yellow Dog Contracts” it Forced Workers in World’s Largest Hair Salon Corporation to Sign and Provide Notices and a DVD Recording Informing Employees of Their Rights

(Ithaca, NY) The National Labor Relations Board has settled unfair labor practice charges against Minneapolis-based Regis Corporation which operates some 10,000 hair salons with over 57,000 workers nationwide, including three Regis Corporation salons in the Ithaca area. The Tompkins County Workers’ Center, representing two Cost Cutters’ (one of Regis’ 34 ‘brands’) workers, filed the charges in 2010.

The settlement requires Regis to remove all the “Yellow Dog Agreements” it forced workers to sign from its files. These agreements, called by Regis “Protection of
Secret Vote Agreements” and signed by workers during 2009-10, were written promises by workers that any union authorization cards they might sign in the future were null and void. This was deemed illegal by the NLRB.

The settlement also requires Regis to post a NLRB notice at all of its store locations nationwide describing for workers their rights to union representation and the commitment of Regis to respect these rights. This same notice will also be recorded by an agent of the NLRB on a DVD and played by Regis supervisors for workers. The text of this Notice is provided at the bottom of this release.

“We are gratified that our unfair labor practice complaint, filed on behalf of Ithaca Cost Cutters workers Amber Little and TJ Goehner, has helped restore the statutory rights of all 57,000 Regis workers,” said Pete Meyers, Tompkins County Workers’ Center Coordinator. “The right to form a union and to engage in concerted action to improve working conditions is a basic human right throughout the world including, now, at the Regis Corporation.”

Amber Little, a single working mother of two young children, had been fired from her position in January 2010 at Cost Cutters in Ithaca due to protesting a Regis policy that required hair stylists to sell hair care products equaling 15% of their hair cutting revenue. Meanwhile, Amber, like most other Cost Cutters workers, was paid $8.oo/hour.

As a result of Little’s termination, and with her help, the TCWC then got in touch with a number of other workers at the Ithaca Cost Cutters who took ‘concerted action’ (a ‘protected activity’ as defined by the National Labor Relations Act definition of two or more workers addressing their employer about improving their working conditions and pay, and a natural precursor to unionizing) by expressing to Cost Cutters what they believed to be an unfair policy.

Said Amber Little, “Had I known that I could have helped to organize a union to protest what I thought were unfair working conditions at Cost Cutters”, said Little, “I would have done that in a heartbeat! This whole thing with being forced to sign this anti-union agreement has helped to educate me a great deal about what it actually means to be in and actually organize a union.”

Said labor law professor Lance Compa (Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations): “The evidence in this case was not just a smoking gun. It was a smoking cannon. The NLRB has taken strong action and sought and received extraordinary remedies to address management’s truly shocking behavior. The workers, too, deserve credit for standing up for their rights. What the company did here is a throwback to the 1920s era of “yellow dog contracts” [requiring workers to sign promises never to join a union or not get hired] which were made illegal by the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, combined with modern union-busting tactics like captive-audience meetings and DVDs filled with threats.”

Entire Settlement Agreement available upon request.

More Information:
Pete Meyers, Coordinator, Tompkins County Workers Center

National Labor Relations Board
Office of Public Affairs

Professor Lance Compa
Senior Lecturer, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations


APPENDIX D (All Other Locations)
Form NLRB-4722

• Form, join or assist a union.
• Choose representatives to bargain with us on your behalf.
• Act together with other employees for your benefit and protection.
• Choose not to engage in any of these protected activities.
ACCORDINGLY, we give you these assurances:
WE WILL NOT ask you about your union sympathies or activities.
WE WILL NOT tell you not to sign union authorization cards.
WE WILL NOT ask you to sign “Protection of Secret Vote Agreements” or “Revised Protection of Secret Vote Agreements” or other agreements revoking and nullifying or limiting the effect of any union authorization cards you may sign in the future.
WE WILL NOT tell you that if you choose to be represented by a union, it is certain that severe adverse consequences will occur, including but not limited to the loss of schedule flexibility or the permanent shutdown of your workplace due to increased labor costs.
WE WILL NOT tell you that you will have difficulties finding other jobs if you join or support a union.
WE WILL NOT ask you to use our hotline to report union activities.
WE WILL NOT promise to remain union free by interfering with, restraining, or coercing you in the exercise of any of your rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
WE WILL NOT tell you that everyone will be able to see any union authorization cards you may sign.
WE WILL NOT in any other manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce you in the exercise of any of your rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
WE WILL remove from our possession all “Protection of Secret Vote Agreements” and “Revised Protection of Secret Vote Agreements” that you signed and we will not give them any effect.
WE WILL remove and destroy all posters that were used in connection with our distribution of “Protection of Secret Vote Agreements” and “Revised Protection of Secret Vote Agreements.”

Initials: _______ Date: _______