Connell and his colleagues have been on unemployment ever since, but when the 2020-2021 NBA season began in December 2020, instead of bringing back several of these workers, the Portland Trailblazers replaced most of the unionized crew who work their games with non-union workers, even as their jobs running the sound and lighting equipment are required whether or not fans are in attendance.
Like many workers around the US Connell believes he has been locked out from his job by a company that has used the coronavirus pandemic as a tool to break unions.
Earlier in the pandemic, some employers resorted to conducting mass layoffs of workers after union organizing drives surfaced, such as at Augie’s Coffee Shop in California and Cort Furniture in New Jersey. Several workers have claimed they had been fired in retaliation due to worker organizing efforts by employers such as Amazon, Trader Joe’s and most recently Instacart. Now some employers are beginning to use lockouts as a tactic to seemingly suppress organizing efforts.US companies using pandemic as a tool to break unions, workers claim | US unions | The Guardian