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May 29, 2024

Shedd workers expose anti-union campaign by aquarium’s top leadership

Weeks after announcing the formation of their union Shedd Workers United/AFSCME, employees of Shedd Aquarium are blowing the whistle on a secret but aggressive anti-union campaign being run by senior leadership of the aquarium.

Shedd’s top management is using scare tactics and misinformation in an attempt to confuse, divide and intimidate workers, employees say.

Shedd leadership has:

The aggressive union-busting campaign that Shedd leadership is executing behind closed doors clashes with its lone public statement, issued last month, when it claimed to “respect the rights of our employees”.

“Shedd senior leadership is blatantly biased against our union. They’re trying to disorient and confuse union-eligible staff,” said Michelle Nastasowski, senior trainer of penguins and otters and a member of the union organizing committee. “These scare tactics and misinformation are meant to make us afraid to speak up.”

Shedd has also hired two corporate law firms with known anti-worker track records: ArentFox Schiff (retained last year) and Cozen O’Connor.

“These anti-union lawyers charge up to $1,500 an hour. Meanwhile Shedd employees are working second jobs, enduring long commutes because we can’t afford to live closer, and struggling to get by doing the work we love,” said Darrianna Rockholt, a guest relations ambassador. “We think Shedd resources should go to our animals and the workers who care for them, not to attorneys trying to interfere with our rights.”