In November 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed a story on the Business and Human Rights website. It linked to a report by the ALF-CIO, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), titled The Double Standard at Work: European Corporate Investment and Workers' Rights in the American South, and published in October 2019.
This report stated that, "Nestlé officials and IUF leaders have been meeting in the United States since 2017 to discuss a protocol relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining in North America. ...
At these meetings, the American unions protested Nestlé USA management’s continuing interference with workers’ organizing rights, and asked for “action points” to halt the company’s anti-union campaigning when employees attempt to form and join trade unions. Nestlé rejected the unions’ proposals for neutrality. The company insisted that its interpretation of neutrality allows continued use of anti-union campaign tactics permitted by U.S. labor law."
It went on to allege that: "When 100 workers at the company’s distribution center in McDonough, Georgia, tried to form a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU-UFCW) in 2016, Nestlé management unleashed a fierce campaign to thwart their efforts."
"Instead of honoring employees’ move to gain dignity and respect on the job, Nestlé management responded to their organizing effort with a massive campaign to suppress it. In weeks and days before a union representation election in April 2017, the company brought in teams of Human Resources managers from around the United States to break workers’ organizing will."
"“They said if the union got in they couldn’t be lenient with us anymore because of union rules,” Murray said. “They kept hinting that they would close the place if we voted union. They didn’t come right out and say it, but they kept saying ‘you never know, somewhere down the line, we don’t need the problems a union brings, it’s just a distribution center, we could put it anywhere,’ things like that to make us think twice about the union. Another thing they kept saying was they could go third-party, get rid of the employees and use people from a labor supply agency instead.”
"In spite of Nestlé management’s anti-union offensive, workers voted 49–46 in favor of union representation in an NLRB election in April 2017."
"As this report is completed, Nestlé USA and four unions representing company employees have met several times with a goal of reaching an agreement on ground rules for union organizing in the United States. They have not achieved it. According to union participants, the company continues to insist that management can hold captive-audience meetings to give employees “factual information.”
"As long as Nestlé insists on using these fear-mongering, intimidating tactics and arguments in Georgia and other Southern states, the company betrays its purported commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights."
Nestle responded to the report, stating: "The report ... contains numerous false allegations and misrepresentations about Nestlé and a 2017 union campaign at one of our facilities".
The company lost half a mark under Workers' Rights for secondary crticism.