Jennifer Orechwa, Author at UnionProof

All Posts by Jennifer Orechwa

Your Union Free Strategy: Becoming An Employer of Choice

The key word in “Positive Employee Relations” (PERS) is the word “positive.” You can have negative relations between managers and staff, but negative relations lead to low employee engagement, leading to a union organizing campaign. One of the most important strategies for preventing a union organizing campaign is to become an employer of choice. The term is bandied about, but the nitty-gritty is that an employer of choice is an organization that has a brand for being a great place to work. It is a place prospective employees are attracted to because they believe they will have an excellent employee experience. Additionally, it is a place with high employee retention because they enjoy a supportive organizational culture, good relations with management, work, and career opportunities. It is also more likely to remain a union-free company that never has to deal with a union organizing campaign

Employer of Choice, or Union of Choice?

In many ways, a labor union uses an approach similar to becoming an employer of choice. The labor union strives to build trusting relationships with your employees on the premise the union will improve their work lives and even their personal lives by negotiating higher wages, better benefits, safer working conditions, and so on. Also, the union represents all employees without bias, meaning they welcome any employee. The union works hard to present itself as a union of choice, convincing employees they will have good relations with union representatives, better career opportunities through fairer promotion policies, and plenty of support in getting what they need to succeed, like training. 


Looking at becoming an employer of choice from this perspective, you are working to create an organization that is far superior to anything the union might offer. Your focus is always on the positive in direct contrast to union negativity. And by staying union-free by offering and delivering a great employee experience, you attract prospective employees who have no interest in joining a union. 


You are not just competing for labor in a tight labor market. You are competing for the most qualified labor that does not want to join a union and will stay with your organization after hiring. Too often, the concept of becoming an employer of choice is limited to recruitment of job candidates, but it applies to attracting and retaining talent. 

Treating People “Greatly”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” Of course, he wrote that in 1841, and if writing today, it would say “people” instead of men, but the thought is just as applicable today. Treat your prospective and current employees greatly, and get great responses in return. 

Many factors go into building a positive employer brand and becoming an employer of choice. Following are seven of the most important ways you can treat people greatly and stay union-free.

Develop Leadership Based on Sharing a Vision

Leadership is a top factor in becoming an employer of choice. Gallup research found the manager accounts for 70 percent of the variance in team engagement. Your leaders determine the tone in the workplace, setting a vision for your organization that they regularly communicate internally and externally. This ability to communicate effectively becomes the linkage between what an employee thinks he or she can accomplish and what is possible in the organization.

Your recruiters who convey the vision with passion will attract the desired talent. Once onboard, your managers and frontline supervisors will consistently keep the compelling vision alive because people understand the business goals and how their work helps them thrive. This is crucial to developing positive employee relations and making a union organizing campaign or a physical or virtual employee protest unlikely.

Identify the Desired Employee

Just filling a vacant position is not enough. You want to fill your positions with people who buy into your mission, are good fits within a UnionProof culture without stifling creativity and innovation, and can see a future with the company by doing meaningful work. Hire right, and you will retain people who are collaborative and productive, pursue excellence in their work, strive to advance, pursue learning and take advantage of company training opportunities and want to work for a union-free company. You must define the skills and requirements for the job, but you must also identify the desired behaviors. As an element of the union-free strategy, the desired employee does not want to join a union because he or she believes in your organization’s leadership skills and open-door policy.

Meet the Needs of the Desired Employee

Prospective and current employees have needs and expectations. The needs may include things like a flexible work schedule, remote work, family benefits, collaborative culture, access to state-of-the-art technology, open-door policy, and so the list goes on. Meeting people’s needs, beginning with a great onboarding experience, leads to higher retention after hiring. The human-centered design puts the needs of people first and can become a key strategy for staying union-free.

One of the reasons employees turn to unions is because their employer doesn’t fulfill promises. One of the major complaints of Amazon employees who tried to unionize a Bessemer, AL distribution center in early 2020 was that they said they were told there would be advancement opportunities. Once hired, they discovered there weren’t many opportunities to move into higher positions because the distribution systems are so tech-based that fewer managers are needed. 

On the other hand, an employee at the Amazon distribution center in Bessemer, AL, said she voted against unionizing because of her relationship with her manager, the company benefits, and the free time by working four days a week. Managers who meet employee needs develop an engaged workforce and are very unlikely to be taken by surprise by finding a union authorization card.

Become an Employer of Choice for a Remote Workforce

If you want to maintain a connected and engaged remote workforce or a hybrid workforce consisting of remote and onsite employees, your union-free strategy involving becoming an employer of choice will need to meet the needs of remote workers too. Many of the same requirements that apply to the onsite workforce will, of course, apply to the remote workforce, i.e., shared vision and values, work culture, good communication systems, etc. 


In addition, you may need to strengthen your positive online branding. Remote tech-savvy workers are normally heavy users of social media, apps, videos on YouTube, online company reviews on sites like Indeed and other sources. If potential employees go online and see many negative reviews about your workplace culture, management, performance expectations, and career opportunities, it indicates two things. One, you are vulnerable to union organizing. Two, you’ll likely be unable to attract the desired employees. You may even attract the wrong ones – activists who want to enter your workforce as employee salts and start a union organizing campaign.

Make Fairness and Recognition Basic Values

Another employee who was once a coal miner and in a union said he voted against unionizing at Amazon because they make “decent pay and benefits” for what they do, and unions made him believe they didn’t really believe a good work ethic mattered. Seniority is what he saw mattered most to the union. 


People aren’t attracted to an employer (or a union) they perceive as unfair in any way or an employer who doesn’t appreciate its workforce members. Your leaders must be fair to employees and give employees a voice. They must understand the importance of and follow through with employee recognition. Employees need regular feedback about their performance and future career opportunities. They need recognition for accomplishments and ideas that contribute to business success. Rewards should reflect employee values and needs, which may mean meeting generational differences. For example, Baby Boomers may focus on retirement plans while millennials look for feedback and a collaborative work environment. A survey conducted by Robert Walters found that 53 percent of millennials have experienced disappointment due to a lack of personal development training when starting a new job.

Create a Diverse, Inclusive, and Belonging Workplace

An organization’s policies must be bias-free and discrimination not tolerated in recruitment and retention practices. Diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging cannot be “just a policy.” These are principles that are embedded in everything from operational systems to people interactions. A company that develops a social media reputation for being discriminatory or failing to recognize systemic racism or genderism in their systems will not attract top talent but will attract unions. Labor unions are addressing the social issue of racism in public ways, like the multi-union calling for a “Strike for Black Lives” July 2020 in 25 cities in which tens of thousands of workers walked off their jobs to call for better benefits, wages, and an end to systemic racism. 

Adhere to Truthfulness and Transparency

Transparency and truthfulness go hand-in-hand. Your organization should operate on a policy of engaging employees with honesty and openness. Though you don’t want to reveal certain information, your employees want inclusion in decision-making. They want to know things like the company plans for growth and anticipated changes, and your union-free philosophy. Your company’s perspective on unions should be transparent during recruitment and hiring processes because transparency and staying union-free are directly connected.


Rob De Luca, BambooHR defines workplace transparency as a “philosophy of sharing information freely in an effort to benefit the organization and its people.” He explains, though, that creating a culture and workplace of transparency requires defining the intent of the transparency so that employees have a clear understanding of expectations. For BabooHR, De Luca says, “Our belief in transparency lives in the value Be Open, but that value exists within a framework of others like Assume the Best, Lead from Where You Are, and Do the Right Thing.” The intent is expressed during onboarding and constantly reinforced after someone is hired. 


Unions like to tell employees their managers lie to them. This is an intentional strategy because it creates a wedge between managers and employees. If the union is successful, the brand is damaged, making it more difficult to hire talent and stay union-free. Management transparency used in the right way exposes union lies

Becoming an Employer of Choice is a Thoughtful Integrated Process

Trust, attitude, management skills, leadership training, employee communication, fair and competitive compensation, scheduling, and so much more are all factors that go into becoming an employer of choice. It’s the big picture and not one thing that attracts the ideal job candidates and retains the best employees. Rather than letting unions become the “union of choice,” concentrate on the “positive” in Positive Employee Relations in your recruiting practices and for your management of in-house and remote workers.


Becoming an employer of choice delivers two major advantages. First, you create a competitive advantage when recruiting job candidates and through higher workforce productivity and performance. Second, you reduce your vulnerability to unionization and are more likely to stay union-free


Projections, Inc. can help your organization develop its union-free strategy and provide the leadership and employee training that gets everyone on board and headed in the right direction from the get-go. Build a strong positive culture supported by leadership and the right tools and resources, and prospective employees will discover you are an employer of choice, and current employees will share that knowledge through a variety of communication channels. 

what is a union

What Is A Union and What Are Organizing Campaigns?

You may be wondering, what is a union? What exactly is a union organizing campaign? And, most importantly, what do I need to know to prepare my workplace and my employees in case unions do come around? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14.3 million workers belonging to unions in 2020, down by 321,000 from 2019. This is a significant amount of waged and salaried workers, and it’s important to take note, since the Biden administration has made it well known that labor laws and regulations are likely to be enacted, thus making it even easier for unions to organize employees in 2021 and beyond.

 

So, what does this have to do with your workplace or your industry? How might this affect you or your employees? UnionProof and the Projections team have had decades of experience helping employers and leaders become labor relations professionals in their workplace. We offer the latest tools and resources that Labor Relations and Human Resources professionals are using to engage employees, build and develop their UnionProof culture, and ultimately create the strongest workforce in their industry! With powerful and professional video, web and eLearning, we help employers to create an involved and focused workforce, where engaged employees are less likely to turn to a union to address issues.

 

Below, we’ll cover some of the basics surrounding unions, union organizing campaigns, and ways to stay prepared should you ever have to face one.

What Is A Union?

Here is a definition from Investopedia to describe exactly what a union is: “a labor union is an organization formed by workers in a particular trade, industry, or company for the purpose of improving pay, benefits, and working conditions. Officially known as a “labor organization,” and also called a “trade union” or a “worker’s union,” a labor union selects representatives to negotiate with employers in a process known as collective bargaining. When successful, the bargaining results in an agreement that stipulates working conditions for a period of time.” However, while this may sound like it would be beneficial to employees, there is a myriad of reasons why unions can actually hurt employees.

 

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Often, unions will make promises to employees to entice them into voting yes. What many employees fail to understand, due to strategic language and skewed statistics, is that many of the promises made by these organizers are benefits and working conditions that they’re already legally entitled to. Employees don’t need to pay a union in order to address and discuss grievances, and they don’t need to give up the ability to speak directly with supervisors and management.

One best practice to implement in your workplace is an internal communications channel, whether that be social media in the form of internal podcastsemployee apps, or a webpage, that shares legal employee rights and encourages them to speak up about anything that’s bothering them at work. Additionally, here is an in-depth round-up on many of the content we’ve written and shared surrounding recognizing and addressing some union lies and statistics.

 

What Is An Organizing Campaign?

A union organizing campaign is essentially a drive or movement to form a union within an organization. Workers can petition for organizing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or consult with an organizer to petition. The organizer can rally an organizing committee and can hold a union card signing event. Card signing events have the goal to sign up the majority of workers (about 30 percent) to push the union organizing forward. If this occurs, an election is held with the NLRB. If the union wins, then your company will have to negotiate contracts. These negotiations usually entail wage and work condition negotiations.

Understanding Union Organizing Laws

It’s also important to understand union organizing laws. The first aspect you must understand is that your employees have the right to unionize. With the Taft-Hartley Act and the National Labor Relations Act, companies can’t discriminate against employees who want to join a union. This means you can’t directly interfere with the process in any way, and you can’t actually refuse a union. A common example of illegal interference is offering higher wages to employees who choose not to unionize. You can’t keep your employees from wearing union buttons, either. Both of those actions can lead to an unfair labor practice or ULP.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t also have rights as an employer during a union organizing campaign. If you find yourself in this situation, here are 30 things employers can do in the case of a campaign, most importantly being open and transparent with your employees. Some organizers may go as far as performing what’s called “salting,” or taking a job with the intention of organizing the company’s worker. While salting can be a nuisance and appear cunning, it’s not against the law.

 

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Tips to Handle Union Organizing

While organizing can seem overwhelming and even inevitable, it’s not impossible to avoid. The key is to be proactive, and develop a positive employee relations strategy. The development of a PER strategy doesn’t happen overnight, and it is a process. The good news is that there are many things you can implement to avoid a union organizing campaign in your workplace. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be Transparent – It’s important to be honest and upfront with your employees. Have an open-door policy with them. Additionally, ensure that your employees have all the information they need to make an informed decision before electing to unionize. This will require that you prepare material for the campaign, such as video content that communicates what is actually involved in being part of a union. You can discuss any disadvantages and financial impacts it can have on employees, such as membership dues.
  • Be Legally Informed – This is the time to consult counsel from a labor attorney. Be clear on what the law states regarding your rights during an organizing drive. You don’t want your supervisors spying on employees, making promises in exchange for not unionizing, questioning employees about what they’re doing, or even going as far as threatening them. This can come with serious allegations and penalties. Instead, take the approach of seeking legal advice and communicating the right things to your team.
  • Be Fair and Proactive – You can union-proof your culture by being proactive and fair with their wages from the start.
    Recognize employees’ needs and be consistent with your practices and policies. Educate employees about organizingand consider doing this process during onboarding employees as well.

 

Staying Prepared and Being Proactive

Naturally, even the most prepared organizations can still succumb to a union organizing campaign. Or perhaps, you find yourself here because you didn’t know the signs to look for and the steps to take to promote a positive culture and atmosphere where unions simply aren’t necessary. If that’s the case, there are still many things you can do as you prepare for union organizing. This includes the four KEEP steps: knowledge, educate, engage, and prepare materials. You can find more information here and more steps you can take to not only prepare for union organizing but to help establish a union-free workplace.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re familiar with what a union is, what union organizing is, and how you can prepare for it, it’s time to proactively take the necessary steps to become an employer of choice. An employer of choice has a positive employer brand and an atmosphere where unions simply aren’t necessary. Creating a union-proof culture is possible once you understand what’s involved in an organizing drive or campaign. In addition to the above steps mentioned, you can be proactive in finding out how vulnerable your workplace is to union organizing in the first place, with a vulnerability assessment.

 

Do you have a Labor Relations expert in your workplace? If not, it’s never too late to become one. Let UnionProof and Projections support you with the training, tools, and resources you need to remain union-free.

HR Audit How-To Guide

Comprehensive HR Audit Guide

Why Do An Audit?

The job of a Human Resources, Employee Relations or Labor Relations professional is often reactive: investigating employee relations issues, responding to a compliance violation, or searching through poorly maintained records when a legal claim is made. However, it is far more satisfying to take a proactive approach and address small problems before they become major headaches. HR auditing sets businesses up for success, establishing basic HR practices. Audits systematically review whether and how policies are being applied, ensuring consistency among staff members and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

How To Conduct An HR Audit

Labor & Employment Audit

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Other benefits of HR audits include:

  • Company-wide adoption of best practices
  • Identification of potential processes improvements
  • Reduction of errors and employee complaints
  • Proactive preparation for government investigations
  • Reduced likelihood of fines for noncompliance with employment regulations
  • Possible reduction in insurance expenses
  • Improved utilization of legal budgets
  • Increased buy-in from managers regarding HR policies and practices
  • Reduced likelihood of successful union organizing

Step-by-Step Guide To Your First Audit

Launching an HR audit is a major endeavor, and it is important to secure the appropriate resources. These subject matter experts are particularly helpful:

  • Legal Counsel - The results of an audit can be discoverable in future legal proceedings. Consult legal counsel for advice on protecting the business.
  • Department Leaders - Enlisting the help of department leaders saves time. They can point you towards the relevant records and explain how policies are applied from day to day.


Once your team is assembled, outline the areas you will audit and develop a list of audit questions. Common inquiries for HR audits include the following:

Recruiting and Hiring

  • Are all position requirements and responsibilities in compliance with the law? Is the Equal Employment Opportunity policy referenced?
  • Review employment applications and interview procedures. Are all questions legal? For example, in some states, you cannot ask whether candidates have a criminal record.
  • Evaluate I-9 procedure. Does the process comply with regulations? Is it consistently applied?
  • Examine onboarding procedures. Are employees trained on all relevant company and department policies, processes and procedures?

Timekeeping

  • Are nonexempt employees recording their hours accurately?
  • Do managers and employees sign off on the accuracy of timekeeping records each pay period?

Compensation

  • Are employees paid correctly and on time?
  • Are appropriate taxes being deducted?
  • Can payroll errors be remedied quickly?

Working Conditions

  • Are required postings present and visible? Visit the U.S. Department of Labor and your state Department of Labor for information on posting requirements.
  • Are OSHA logs complete, up-to-date and available to employees?
  • Are employees aware of procedures for reporting workplace accidents and injuries?
  • Is there an established grievance procedure? Do employees know what steps to take if they have a concern?
  • Is there a published union-free operating philosophy? Does it meet all relevant National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requirements?

Performance Evaluation

  • Is there an established process for evaluating performance?
  • Are employees given clear expectations and goals?
  • Are performance evaluations administered on a regular basis for all employees?
Benefits of HR Audits

Disciplinary Action

  • Are coaching and counseling conversations documented and stored appropriately?
  • Is there a clear disciplinary action policy?
  • Is the policy applied consistently to all employees?

Establish and Communicate Company Policies

Examine your written policies and practices to ensure they are current and consistently applied. Are any missing or outdated? Do they conflict with each other?


Some organizations combine policies into a single employee handbook, while others keep them separate in an online portal. Either way, ensure that there is a process in place to train employees on accessing policies.


At minimum, the following policies should be documented and communicated to staff members:

  • Acceptable Use - Establishes expectations for acceptable use of business resources such as internet, email and company-issued mobile devices
  • Accessibility - Process for requesting and providing accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Anti-Discrimination - Prohibits discrimination based on characteristics protected by law
  • Anti-Harassment - Prohibits illegal behavior towards others based on characteristics protected by law
  • Anti-Retaliation - Prohibits retaliation against employees who bring up a concern in good faith
  • At-Will - Establishes that the company and the employee can end the employment relationship any time, for any reason
  • Code of Conduct - Basic expectations for behavior in the workplace
  • Confidentiality - Expectations for keeping customer, company and coworker information confidential
  • Conflict of Interest - Discusses situations in which employees’ personal interests conflict with business interests
  • Dress Code - Discusses appropriate attire based on job responsibilities
  • Equal Employment Opportunity - Establishes that hiring and employment decisions do not discriminate based on legally protected characteristics
  • Leave of Absence - Establishes policies and procedures for time away from work
  • Paid Time Off - Policies and procedures for holidays, vacation, bereavement, jury duty, voting, sick time, etc. Ensure that all policies comply with recent updates to federal, state and local laws.
  • Recognition and Reward - Policies and procedures around recognition programs, incentives, bonuses and similar
  • Solicitation and Distribution - Establishes that employees may not solicit or distribute for outside organizations while any of the individuals involved are on work time
  • Substance-Free Workplace - Sets expectations that employees will come to work unimpaired
  • Workplace Safety - Sets expectations for adherence to relevant safety rules and regulations
  • Workplace Violence - Prohibits violent and aggressive behavior in the workplace

Termination

  • Document a clear, comprehensive termination process, including procedures for revoking systems and building access, notifying benefits vendors and issuing final pay.
  • Note that some states require final pay to be issued within a certain time frame - particularly if the termination is involuntary.
  • Ensure compliance with regulations related to post-employment benefits, such as those that apply to pension and retirement savings accounts (ERISA) and those that apply to health insurance coverage (COBRA).

Record Storage, Maintenance, & Retention

  • Ensure employment records are retained as required. Examples include employment applications, payroll and compensation records, and performance evaluations.
  • Confirm that all records are stored appropriately. For example, managers are not permitted to have access to employee health records.
  • Ensure that there is a written procedure for maintaining records for the period required by law. Note that record retention requirements vary based on the type of record. For example, payroll records must be retained for a minimum of three years.
  • Ensure that there is a process in place for destroying outdated records, and confirm that outdated records are being destroyed on schedule.


Gather the records relevant to your checklist, and begin documenting your results. For maximum effectiveness, your summary of results should be paired with a plan to remedy any deficiencies that have been identified through audit activities.


An internal HR audit has the same goal as any other audit: to scrutinize business operations to ensure
best practices are in place and consistently applied. Of course, an HR audit is exclusively focused on HR practices, offering an opportunity to identify deficiencies in employment policies and their application, employment-related documentation, and compliance with relevant employment law. Proactively auditing HR practices is the most effective method of addressing small issues before they have a chance to consume large amounts of time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

Labor & Employment Audit

9 Tips to Stay Union-Free

9 Solid And Legal Ways To Stay Union-Free

Why Would A Union Target My Employees?

If you ask workers seeking union representation why they feel it’s necessary, you’d get all kinds of reasons. They might explain that they felt like their opinions weren’t being listened to. They might have had concerns over fair treatment in the workplace,
or they may feel under pressure from colleagues or union representatives. Whatever the reason, the real root of the problem is a lack of communication and a resulting sense of powerlessness, the idea that the decisions that affect them are being made around them, and that they aren’t “in on things.”


While it’s true that fewer workers are joining unions these days, some still seek out membership, and it only takes a few people to get the attention of union organizers. Once a union gets involved (even before they represent employees), employers must spend time and money dealing with them as a third party. On top of that, indirect communication, misunderstanding and differing objectives can all negatively impact the relationship between employers and their employees. These factors can all lead to a drop in productivity, but the situation can be avoided if companies are proactive and intentionally work to create a UnionProof culture.

Legal Ways To Stay Union-Free


If you wanted to unionize a workforce, what should be put into doubt? The answer is trust. Unions will encourage employees to doubt their employer’s motives, end goals, and sincerity. Essentially, the employer cannot be trusted to make decisions that are fair and have the employees’ interests in mind. The union tries to convince employees that their employer’s stated intentions are not genuine. Their ultimate goal is only to make more profits at their expense. The employer doesn’t keep promises, doesn’t appreciate employee contributions, and doesn’t respect employees. It is a decades-old union approach designed to erode the direct connection between an employer and their workforce.


If your employees are being targeted by a union, what can you do? How can you address the situation legally and effectively to keep your workforce union-free?


9 Union-Free Tips You Can Implement Right Now

Ways to Stay Union Free

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  1. 1
    Start Educating Your Pre-Hires On Your Union-Free Philosophy - Are you currently in a hiring phase? Even before you fill new positions, let prospective employees know where you stand when it comes to unions. During the interview or pre-hire orientation, share your company’s union-free operating philosophy and the reasons behind it. Your pre-hire orientation video should include:

    • A detailed company history, including points of pride
    • The “why” behind what you do and how you do it, including your union-free operating philosophy
    • Expectations for all employees
    • The company's mission, vision, and values
  2. 2
    Educate Every Employee About The Benefits of Your Union-Free Environment - One of the most significant challenges in preventing union organizing is countering misinformation. The most effective path begins not when organizing does, but rather with the facts on each employee’s own Day One. Make sure your onboarding journey includes the basics on unions and your company’s union-free operating philosophy. Remember that there’s no need to be heavy-handed right out of the gate; if you’re doing this well, you’ll have a long relationship with each and every employee.
  3. 3
    Train Your Supervisors On Positive Employee Relations - There’s a saying that employees don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. A poor supervisor can sour the employee experience even at the best companies. That discontent can manifest itself when union organizers start showing up at the front gate. You need to ensure that your supervisors are ready to lead and inspire team members.

    Often, supervisors are promoted based on performance – not leadership skills. New supervisors need rigorous
    management training that emphasizes soft skills. They need to know how to connect with employees, manage interpersonal issues, and encourage a respectful work culture. Setting a broader goal of being an employer of choice can be the best defense against unions.

    Consider interactive training designed to educate Supervisors on the reasons behind your union-free philosophy and their role in maintaining a direct relationship with employees. When your front-line leaders have the knowledge they need, they feel confident. They have the skills they need to act authentically in the event they’re faced with employee relations challenges. You’re empowering them to meet the needs of their team members – without the risk of legal missteps and unfair labor practice charges.
Positive Working Environment To Stay Union-Free
  1. 4
    Foster A Positive Working Environment - Your company’s culture plays a significant role in keeping employees union-free. Creating a positive working environment isn’t a one-time event but an ongoing effort at every level of the company. From the C-suite’s ability to take action, to HR’s listening skills, to front-line leaders addressing everyday concerns, to the way co-workers treat one another - every aspect of personal interaction matters.

    Communication is key in understanding between a company and its workforce. Regular, planned meetings between employees and management to discuss both potential and present problems are vital. Equally important is the ability to discuss issues that come up unexpectedly. This kind of “planned connection” (as opposed to a formal meeting) is an excellent opportunity for workers to raise immediate concerns with those in a position to act on the information. When workers feel like their voices are being heard, it gives them a sense of control, essentially taking the power from the unions and putting it into the hands of employees and their employers.

    Make sure every team member is aware of the company’s desire to create a positive working environment. Nothing helps a team pull together like a common goal. Over at SnackNation, they shared their favorite motivational videos for teams, and those are just a few good ones. Creating custom-produced team videos can convey your company’s most important messages in a memorable way!
  2. 5
    Celebrate Wins & Reward Extra Effort - A powerful way to foster a sense of achievement as a team is to make sure you celebrate significant wins and reward those who take initiative. Innovation, hard work, teamwork and company growth milestones are all worthy of celebration. Each employee’s contribution to the bigger vision matters and when their efforts are acknowledged (even in small ways), you’re creating a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.

    Remember that these wins and milestones are something a union organizer can’t tarnish. Hold team celebrations for achievements or milestones. Be sure to mention any special achievements and give credit to employees who really exceeded expectations. Not every employee is going to excel all the time. But if you never communicate with them about their strengths and weaknesses, they won’t know what success looks like, and a union organizer can quickly convince them they’re working too hard for too little acknowledgement.
  3. 6
    Develop Transparent & Fair Dispute Resolution Practices - Crucial in making employees feel that they have the ability to positively impact their working conditions is a clear path to dispute resolution. Implementing a pro-worker alternative dispute resolution (ADR) policy now will go a long way toward creating an environment where a union simply isn’t necessary.

    Be clear about how your program works, including how and when to use it – and when necessary, don’t be afraid to compare your process with the excessive amount of red tape a union grievance procedure often includes. Make your ADR simple, do your best to make sure your policies don’t cause time delays, and once it’s in place, make sure employees know it’s working. Video testimonials from employees who have resolved issues through your company’s ADR process can be a strong reinforcement for the program itself (even without talking about their specific dispute or challenge).

    Even if you’re only just beginning to create your ADR policy, or you have just begun to make substantial changes to a pre-existing one, let team members know the progress you’re making as soon as possible. Communicate simply, in the way most familiar to your employees, so that while the approach or a formalized system may be new, the mode of communication is trusted. If you do regular video updates and distribute them via an email link, don't suddenly start using social media to talk about your dispute resolution process -- even if you plan to use that new channel to educate employees on the program going forward.
Open-Door Policy To Stay Union-Free
  1. 7
    Maintain Your Open-Door Policy - Cut arteries that feed union misinformation by creating and actively maintaining your open door policy. To achieve this, establish clear communication channels. If employees trust that leaders are listening, providing feedback, and addressing employee concerns, then promises made by union organizers seem hollow compared to what team members can achieve by working together.

    Companies that implement a true open-door policy find that it’s a highly successful way of empowering employees to raise concerns and grievances. Having a written policy that invites interaction ensures that all workers are treated equally and fairly – and it makes sure leaders are effective, approachable and in the loop. When a union organizer attempts to stir up a rallying cry of gaining a voice on the job, your employees know they already have a voice and don’t need a union.

    Consider providing employees the option of voicing concerns or making suggestions anonymously. This option is likely to encourage workers to raise concerns they feel uncomfortable voicing in person, but on which they might turn to a third party for resolution. Even more importantly, managers and employers will be made aware of important issues that no one is vocalizing.

    To this end, train your leaders on the soft skills needed to handle employee concerns. It is imperative that every team member feels comfortable talking to any supervisor or manager (even if they don’t report to that person) to have their concerns heard and acted upon when appropriate.
  2. 8
    Communicate Common Goals - As a part of regular meetings, you need to be clear about the goals and motivations that drive the company – including a union- free operating philosophy. Working toward a common objective allows employees to feel like they are part of something, not just a means to an end for the company.

    Fostering understanding of common goals – like zero defects, improvements in customer service ratings, even productivity goals – means the entire team is more likely to identify with culture of the organization, removing any idea of an “us vs. them” mentality.

    Making the company’s core values a living and vibrant part of what your team members do every day can also be a strong deterrent against unionization. Shared core values create a strong sense of belonging. Think about how you can fully integrate those values into the goals you set for team members, and as they work together to fulfill those goals, they’ll be less susceptible to promises from someone outside the company.
  3. 9
    Expose Employees To The Challenges Associated With Joining Unions - Sometimes unionization drives occur, despite your best efforts at taking care of employees. Unions target successful companies, so staving off union activity requires proactive research and intelligence. Employees are often hesitant when it comes to discussing issues related to unionization, afraid they’ll be looked upon differently by their supervisor if they bring up the subject. As a business leader, you must be willing to keep the lines of communication open so that employees understand the truth of what happens during union organizing drives.

    It’s vital to educate employees on what it truly means to be unionized. Begin with your front-line supervisors and be sure to open their eyes to the impact a union would have on their ability to do their job and manage their team directly. Then, make sure employees know the financial impact and risks that can come with unionization – and that they understand the path that leads
    to those challenges. Include educating all employees about protecting their signature and not signing a union authorization card. Employees need to be educated about what a union authorization card is, what it does, what it means and that they shouldn’t sign one without full knowledge of why a union organizer would want their signature so badly.

    Fortunately, it’s easier to collect information than ever before. During an organizing campaign, at a minimum you can expect the union to set up a dedicated website or page, a Facebook page (or even a private group), Instagram account, and a Twitter feed. Rather than fearing these things, use the knowledge you gain to educate employees on the strategy or approach the union may use to target them. Even if your company is not the target of a current unionization effort, you can still collect actionable intelligence on these platforms. Union tactics against peer companies set the pattern and expectation for future campaigns, so staying one step ahead of gives your employees an advantage over the escalation strategy of a union organizer.

Now, Prepare Your Communication Strategy

The important takeaway is that preventing unionization takes preparation. The union will work hard to convince your employees that they are being treated unfairly and need protection. Be prepared to refute union messaging line-by-line, preferably with data. If the union argues employees are underpaid, illustrate how your wages compare to competitors in your industry. You can also clarify the financial value of the benefits you offer. If the union states that employees are unhappy, publish testimonials proving otherwise. You need to communicate well and often to counter a unionization drive.


Your communications strategy should:

  • Be timely and organized
  • Clearly refute union arguments with facts
  • Be memorable and easy to understand
  • Rely on third-party data

Download a PDF version of this valuable insight!

Ways to Stay Union Free


will union walkouts return?

Will Union Walkouts Return?

There is very little good to say about the COVID-19, except for one thing. It’s responsible for increasing awareness of the importance of workers who are often taken for granted, like grocery store cashiers, inventory stockers, restaurant cooks, and poultry plan workers. These employees were instrumental in keeping the economy going and meeting the needs of people at home. The healthcare workers, housekeepers in medical facilities, warehouse stockers and pickers, and truck drivers, kept working in environments that exposed them to the virus, but they willingly kept working.

It reminds one of the Walt Whitman poem, “I Hear American Singing,” in which he praises the workers who go about their day-to-day work. “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,” he wrote. The poem was written to express appreciation for people who do basic critical jobs without adulation. His message still resonates today because employees need regular recognition from organizational leaders, and they want their needs addressed and met. What is different today is that groups of employees are willing to walk out when unhappy or feeling unappreciated, making it more challenging to stay union-free

Frontline Heroes of the Day

The employees who are considered heroes today include the frontline workers, tech workers, biomedical researchers, teachers who adapted to virtual instruction, food producers, healthcare workers, and many others. Ironically, increasing the awareness of the employees who kept the economy humming during the pandemic has a flip side. The pandemic consequence is an unwanted gift that keeps on giving, and one of them concerns anticipated increases in walkouts.

An interesting twist of the pandemic during 2020 is that many businesses were shut down, so there was nothing to walk out on. Employees were temporarily idled at home or permanently laid off due to the COVID-19 virus. Bloomberg Law analyzed 2020 and found that work stoppages significantly declined in 2020, with 86 strikes and lockouts occurring in unionized workplaces. That is half the number compared to 2019. The largest work stoppage involved carpenters who belong to the Massachusetts Building Trades Council. Other large work stoppages involved service workers, machinists, teachers, and nurses. It’s interesting to note that many of these employees are in the same workgroups mentioned in Whitman’s poem! 

An employer initiated only one work stoppage out of the 86. The rest were union initiated. The question now is whether union labor stoppages will once again resume. The professionals at UnionProof who track the union environment expect an uptick in walkouts for clear reasons.

union strikes

What Could Lead to More Union Walkouts?

  • Many employees are returning to the workplace with a heightened fear about their health and safety and the health and safety of their family members.
  • Unions are aggressively reaching out to employees through social media, websites, texts, and other technologies.
  • Unions are supported by the current administration in Washington, DC, and the House of Representatives, with the PROACT and other union-supporting legislation proposed. Biden has supported legislation that doesn’t get a lot of attention yet, like the Fairness to Farm Workers Act and the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which expand federal protections to agricultural and domestic workers. This type of legislation encourages employees to organize and walk out.
  • Some people believe they can only gain an employee voice in the workplace by creating a collective voice.
  • Workers want a $15 per hour minimum wage and regular raises, which is difficult for many businesses to implement, i.e., restaurants, fast food workers, hospitality workers, etc. Businesses have said they will have to lay off workers and raise the wages of those remaining. The Congressional Budget Office forecasted the minimum wage increase would lead to 1.4 million fewer jobs, many of them the employees who have suffered the most during the pandemic. One-third of small business owners indicated they would lay off workers if Congress increases the minimum wage to $15. Many employees think employers are not being truthful in order to avoid paying $15.
  • Public workers, like teachers, have won many of their demands, like the delayed start of in-person instruction, wage increases, enhanced safety protocols, etc. The public employee strikes and walkouts forecast increasing walkouts in the private sector, including hospital workers, fast food employees, warehouse workers like at Amazon, and contracted or gig workers. 
  • New groups of workers form unions, like Google engineers and other employees who have historically not been union members and have already proven they are willing to conduct employee-driven work stoppages and walkouts.
  • A growing wealth gap between frontline workers and senior management and business owners fuels a have-nots sentiment in the workforce. 
  • The influence of non-union employee advocacy organizations is growing, like worker associations and worker centers. Though they are not labor unions per the NLRA, they take the same actions as legal labor unions. Any strike or walkout is harmful, no matter who initiates it. 

The walkouts are already happening, triggered by pandemic issues. In January 2021, 100 New Yorker Union employees walked out for one day to demand more pay after negotiations failed. On March 4, 2021, 150 technical workers (technologists, medical technicians, therapists) at the St. Charles Health System went on strike, which ended March 15 with the assistance of a federal mediator.

Eleven hundred miners at two Alabama coal mines and members of the United Mine Workers of America went on strike in April 2021. In April 2021, employees at 52 or more Connecticut nursing homes are threatening to strike for an increase in wages, more PPE, more affordable health insurance, paid child care and sick leave, and more Medicaid reimbursement to facilities. The New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199, held “information pickets” one day at six nursing homes. 

union walkout

Gathering Storm of Union Walkouts

The stereotyped union employee doesn’t exist anymore – blue-collar tradespeople. All different types of employees at all pay, education, and staff levels are now forming unions, organizing on their own, protesting, and walking out. Many union contract disputes are negotiated with the help of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS)

The January 2020 report shows 1,350 collective bargaining mediation claims, while January 2021 has 1,567. In February 2020, there were 1,939 claims, while February 2021 shows 1,751 filed claims. However, the large number of claims in the months of 2021 indicate the enormous discontent among union workers when you consider the pandemic and lockdowns are still active but slowing down. Contract negotiations remain difficult, and disputes are in the thousands. 

This portends a growing number of walkouts among a variety of employees in the coming months. Looking at the FMCS claims, there is a wide variety of businesses dealing with union contract disputes – airlines, manufacturers, trucking services, healthcare facilities, opera house, school districts, entertainment companies, truck rentals, energy suppliers, restaurants, bars, construction companies, uniform suppliers, car dealerships, distilleries, food packers, news publishers and just about any other business or industry you can think of. 

In Burlingame, California, skilled nursing workers began negotiating a new contract in August 2020 with Burlingame Longterm Care. The negotiations failed, so in February 2021, they went on strike for two days. The AFSCME Local 829 union representative said that management had “proposed nothing on healthcare, nothing on staffing levels, almost nothing on an immediate wage increase – except for a few folks with more than ten years seniority.”

On February 4, more than 700 drivers and warehouse workers at Albertsons Cos. Southwest distribution center in Tolleson, Arizona, voted to strike. The employees are members of Teamsters Local 104 and were protesting over the company’s lack of COVID safety measures and claims the company was violating federal labor laws. They said the company refused to address warehouse workers’ concerns regarding social distancing and were not providing drivers with PPE. 

Albertsons has been facing union activity before the Arizona strike with Teamsters Local 745 in Dallas, Texas, holding a public protest in January 2021. Here is an important point to note. Steve Vairma, the Teamsters Warehouse Division Director and International Vice President, said. “If Albertsons doesn’t stop putting our members at risk and violating federal labor laws in the process, we have over 11,000 Teamsters across the country that are ready to take on that fight.” A protestor strike in one company at one location can spawn a national protest. 

Staying Union-Free by Learning From Events

It’s tempting to think that walkouts should not increase in number going forward because the pandemic is slowly easing, and many companies have adapted to new safety requirements. However, workers across industries found a new collective voice during the pandemic, and they are less patient and more willing to protest or strike. Unable to afford long strikes, short walkouts may become part of the new norm. As an employer, you know that even a short protest can cause major operational disruption. 

Staying union-free means learning from actual events. Some of the takeaways from the walkouts, protests, and strikes that did occur in 2020, even if less in number for one year, include the following.

  • Recognize the contributions of all employees – Every employee needs recognition for their contributions. All are indispensable, or you would not create the positions and fill them. Frontline workers who feel ignored or unappreciated are the ones most likely to start a union campaign. In the healthcare industry, nurses wanted more pay and PPE and got a lot of public attention. Still, it was housekeepers who felt unappreciated as they quietly went about their daily duties. The tech industry is contracted, and part-time workers who believe their contributions to company success are not recognized. Every industry has a group of workers who don’t believe management understands the value of their work, and these are the people most likely to walk out. Assess your employee recognition process and ensure it.’
  • Give all workers a voice – It’s critical to engage all employees and develop positive employee relations with employees at all organizational levels and in all positions. This means giving remote workers, frontline workers, deskless workers, part-time workers, and diverse workers a voice. One of the facts that have emerged in the last 2-3 years is that employees support each other, even when unionization doesn’t apply to them personally. For example, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice flew to Minnesota to support a strike held by Somali-American warehouse workers. Also, in 2019, Google employees signed a letter directed to the CEO demanding fair treatment for temporary and contract workers. 
  • Remember, workers can band together online across geographies to unionize – Technology has made online union organizing possible. One of the new strategies is for unions to encourage non-union employees to walk out as a show of unison. The walkouts and protests of non-union employees can give unions a way to advocate for workers even when their member employees have a no-strike clause. Also, unions are using websites and social media to organize virtual walkouts
  • Recognize non-union walkouts can lead to a union organizing campaign – Don’t minimize the potential of a non-union walkout to lead to unionization. Labor unions often support worker-driven walkouts because the unions hope to convince the workers to eventually join a union. A group of employees is allowed to walk off the job to protest working conditions under the National Labor Relations Act because the action is concerted activity. It’s much easier for employees to walk out than to call a strike. This is another reason walkouts are likely to increase in the future. 
  • Acknowledge the employee issues and be willing to discuss their significance – Some employee issues are more difficult to discuss than others. For example, discussing racial bias in the workplace is a difficult conversation to hold. Another difficult topic is a favorite of unions – the compensation of top executives compared to the wages of frontline workers. Many employers avoid talking about unions and employee rights because they fear it will encourage employees to talk to a union. The truth is they will talk to unions anyway if their needs are not met. Your managers shouldn’t avoid difficult conversations because that creates a communication gap. 
  • Fulfill commitments made to employees – Some of the past walkouts have been due to employers not making promised changes to the workplace to address a variety of issues, from bias to scheduling. When changes are made, rigorously communicate the changes to all employees through employee training programs, podcasts, videos, and social media. Failing to act on promises is a violation of employer trust.

The complexity of the discussion on walkouts reflects the complexity of the business environment today. Employee reasons for walkouts were once predictable, i.e., compensation, benefits, work schedules. Today, there have been walkouts over a myriad of issues, i.e., racial justice, climate change issues, gender equality, environmental justice, government contracts for military purposes, gun control, and so much more. 

Always Stay Prepared

To minimize the possibility of walkouts and stay union-free, always be prepared for a potential union campaign by training your leaders on employer and employee rights, maintaining a union-focused website, communicating regularly with employees as an employee engagement strategy, and maintaining a positive organizational culture. 

The number of employee walkouts is likely to increase because they apply pressure on employers. The best employer strategy is to eliminate the need for walkouts by developing positive employee relationsProjections, Inc. can provide critical resources to stay union-free, from employee training and leadership courses to a wealth of union-related materials and union-focused website development.

Unions in the Healthcare Industry: Challenges to Stay Union-Free

How does an employer stay union-free in the healthcare industry? This type of environment is an ideal model for all employers across industries to understand how pent-up employee frustrations can quickly lead to unionization under the right circumstances.

Certainly, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for decades, but it was almost immediately felt with the announcement a pandemic was in progress in the healthcare industry. Nurses, healthcare facility nursing aides, home health-aid workers, and nursing homes confronted serious illness and numerous deaths among their patients day-after-day. In hospitals, in particular, nurses, nurse aides, and housekeepers stepped up. They worked overtime in hazardous conditions expecting their employers to do everything possible to protect their health and safety. As the pandemic unfolded, many employees quickly came to feel like their employers didn’t care enough about their health and safety, that they didn’t have a voice in the workplace; and that they were dangerously overworked, which put patients and their lives in jeopardy. It’s easy to see how feeling overworked and like your voice isn’t being heard could lead to an uptick of unions in healthcare.

Healthcare Staffing Issues Leads to Union Organizing

Unfortunately, after the start of the pandemic, it took a while for many healthcare employers to provide adequate PPE, approve hazard pay, amend policies addressing time off for sickness due to COVID and take other steps towards putting employee protections in place. It wasn’t necessarily the fault of the employers. The pandemic hit suddenly with little warning. The CDC issued conflicting guidelines, and access to needed safety and medical equipment and supplies was limited due to the structure of the nation’s supply chains. There was a shortage of PPE equipment and patient ventilators, staffing issues while struggling to handle a large and rapid influx of COVID-19 patients, and a shortage of virus testing supplies. Some facilities had to reduce the number of support staff because of the inability to do elective procedures, which led to huge financial losses quickly. 

The healthcare industry is a classic example of how an unexpected turn of events can lead to an uptick in union organizing campaigns. In this particular industry, the pandemic is a tipping point more than a trigger for unionization. Many of the employee issues during the pandemic were issues before the pandemic started. Staffing, in particular, has been an ongoing issue with healthcare workers saying the worker-to-patient ratio made it impossible to deliver adequate patient care, a claim made in other facilities, too, like nursing homes. National Nurses United says that what happened during the pandemic reflects a lack of response of employers and government officials to past demands made to improve workplace safety before the pandemic, which led to nurses being sent to the pandemic frontline with inadequate protection. 

Unions in Healthcare Same as Unions in All Industries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 8.0 percent of healthcare support occupations and 11.9 percent of healthcare practitioners (includes nurses and many other occupations) and technical occupations were union members in 2020. This is an increase of .6 percent and .1 percent year-over-year. The unions have been active during the pandemic because there are so many issues they can quickly run with to potentially grow membership, like workplace safety and pay. 

SEIU-represented HCA Healthcare workers went on strike at Riverside Community Hospital in June 2020 with staffing and safety the two named concerns. In 2021, HCA has to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that cover 10,000 nurses in five states. Dignity Health will renegotiate contracts covering 14,000 nurses at 29 hospitals. These are just two of the major collective bargaining contracts that will be up for renegotiation. Rebecca Givan, Associate Professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, believes one of the possible impacts of multiple contracts coming up for negotiation at the same time is the union gets a marketing advantage in terms of gaining community support, leveraging off the fact the pandemic pushed healthcare workers into the public’s eye. Employers are put on the defensive, forced to respond to negative union claims instead of proactively promoting the advantages of the business. 

The more unions are in the spotlight; the more likely all industries will feel the pressure of unions. Many of the issues driving healthcare workers to unions could potentially apply to any workforce. For example, a nurse who belongs to the New York State Nurses Association says they are professionals but work in a factory-like atmosphere and have little autonomy to define their practice or to determine how skills and knowledge can be implemented. In the words of Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, “Professional caregivers have the same needs as other workers: to improve salary, benefits, hours, working conditions, respect for what we do, safety, fair treatment if accused of violations, etc. Professionals have additional needs: to practice our profession as we see fit, based on our licensure, certification, education, and autonomous judgment capability. Thus, we have a GREATER need to be unified in an organized body to negotiate these terms.”

staying union-free in healthcare industry

The Importance of Giving Employees a Voice

Sheridan-Gonzalez also mentions that they seldom hear from management except for “a cute letter sent out on Nurses Week or Christmas.” Final decisions on resources and their allocation are determined by management without input from the nursing professionals. UnionProof has frequently discussed the importance of employee voice, employee trust in management, and transparency. When these three workplace characteristics are missing, employees are much more likely to talk to unions. 

Employees need to feel empowered. The nurses at Mission Health (taken over by HCA Healthcare) voted to unionize in September 2020. However, they acted collectively long before then, sending a petition and letter to administrators demanding stronger COVID-19 protocols and better training on using PPE. The hospital agreed, and the nurses believed it was a significant victory. It was also a two-edged sword. The victory proved to the employees a collective voice could bring management action. Still, it also demonstrated the importance of regularly communicating with employees – giving them opportunities to use their voice to express concerns, provide feedback and share knowledge. Perhaps Mission Hospital could have avoided unionizing if management had been listening to its employees all along and provided more feedback so that an employee petition wasn’t necessary.

Nurses decided to strike at St. Mary Medical Center in November 2020 due to short staffing. Staffing had been a topic of discussion between nurses and management since 2019 when they joined the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (a labor union). Still, the pandemic led the nurses to take action. A tentative labor agreement was reached in December 2020, and the hospital statement said the contract “gives nurses a voice in discussions on staffing while preserving the hospital’s right and authority to make all staffing decisions.”

Once again, employee voice is a core issue. 

Disadvantages of Unions in Healthcare and Other Industries

One of the major concerns going forward for companies that want to stay union-free is that unions are encouraged and supported by the current U.S. administration. The unions will have a strong influence in pushing legislators to pass industry-specific pro-union laws. Unions, for example, can lobby for laws that regulate healthcare facilities in a way that supports the union agenda and restrict employer decision-making about things like mandatory overtime, disciplinary actions, and various working conditions. 

Keeping employees informed about unions is key to staying union-free. A nurse pointed out the cons of unionizing, and they should sound familiar because they get to the heart of the same disadvantages of unions in non-healthcare businesses. 

  • Management must always consult with the union on issues like employee pay and benefits, and if it leads to a strike, patients suffer
  • Unions will always support the union nurse, meaning employers can’t easily fire the nurse for poor performance (once again hurts patient care)
  • Unions charge dues, and some of the union dues go to political causes which union members may not support
  • Union and non-union nurses have said that unions entrench seniority so that nurses with low seniority are last on requests for holiday time off, are more easily assigned to other units, and are first to lose hours when patient numbers are low
  • Unions make it difficult to advance careers on merit or higher educational status when competing with unionized nurses with more seniority

Multiple Unions Reaching Out

There is no single union representing healthcare workers, though the AFL-CIO would like to see a number of the unions come together under their umbrella. The Service Employees International Union, National Nurses United, National Union of Healthcare Workers, and the AFL-CIO are four of the largest unions organizing healthcare workers. The National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees is supported by two powerful labor groups – AFSCME, part of the AFL-CIO. AFSCME is known for its involvement in Democratic Party political campaigns, proving that labor unions and politics go hand-in-hand. There is a large number of member-led state and local labor unions too. 

According to RegisteredNursing.org, many of the state and local unions were prompted by labor lawyers and are not the result of nurses leading an organizing event. Some nurses pay as much as $90 each month for union dues, so it’s not surprising unions want them to organize. The article also discusses the damage strikes cause, which includes lower-quality patient care, lost wages, high employer costs of training and replacing strikers, and in some cases, community hospital closures.

The interesting comment the author makes at the end is this: “One fact remains true: unions in healthcare is big business for union leaders. Under the guise of improving nurses’ working conditions and patient outcomes, unions continue to advocate for their own survival first and foremost.”

union-free in healthcare industry

Tips for Staying Union-Free in Healthcare

The challenge of staying union-free is going to continue to get more complex. Every industry can learn from the increasing interest in unions by nurses and other healthcare workers. Following are some of the steps you can take immediately to stave off unions by developing positive employee relations.

  1. Employee voice – As discussed, giving your employees a strong voice tops the list. A strong employee voice means your leaders actively listen, deliver feedback, address specific concerns and maintain an open-door policy that is put into action. 
  2. Maintain a system of open and honest communication – The pandemic placed a lot of stress on healthcare workers. The stories emerging from events over the last year that are leading to unions getting involved have a common theme. Management made decisions about issues like staffing, leave time, and safety without consulting their employees or explaining why certain decisions were made.

Employees today expect their leaders to include them in decision-making by giving them plenty of opportunities for input and sharing the reasoning behind decisions. Even if management must make unpopular decisions, like staffing reductions, employees will understand why certain decisions had to be made. There is a good chance your employees may have ideas that management had not thought of too. Include employees and invite diverse perspectives on finding solutions to particular challenges.

3. Regularly recognize employee contributions to business success – Employees are the heart of every business. When they feel unappreciated and isolated from management, it’s an open invitation to labor unions. Your leaders can show appreciation in a variety of ways, and they don’t necessarily involve additional expenses or a lot of money. 

For example, recognizing employees on the company website or embracing an employee’s innovative solution and sharing it publicly lets employees know your managers appreciate their efforts. A series of studies were conducted to identify low-cost non-monetary interventions to promote happiness among social workers. The research has found that symbolic awards like congratulatory cards and public recognition can significantly increase performance, intrinsic motivation, and retention rates. In one study, social workers who received a letter praising their work and their impact on clients felt significantly more valued than those who didn’t receive a letter. 

As the nurse mentioned, though, a Christmas card once a year is not a genuine way of showing appreciation. Recognizing employees must be an ongoing process. 

4. Train your leaders on union organizing – There is a lot your leaders should know about labor unions and the law. They need to know TIPS and FOE rules, employee and employer rights conveyed in the National Labor Relations Act, how to identify signs of union organizing, and steps to take should union organizing efforts become apparent. Leadership training is also important to ensure your managers know specific reasons why unions are not good for the organization. 

5. Develop a system for identifying emerging workforce concerns – In many of the situations leading to nurses and healthcare workers choosing to join a union, a common theme emerged. Employees said the issues had been bubbling for a while, and they tried to talk to management about them. Ignoring your employee concerns is never a good option. 

There are numerous ways to pinpoint concerns, including assessing social media posts, doing pulse surveys, evaluating the types of grievances, reviewing Human Resources cases, measured productivity declines, increased sick leave hours, increased turnover, and increasing workforce conflicts between workers and between employees and management are some. Even employees demanding more money or benefits like increased family leave time are symptoms of employee unhappiness. 

TinyPulse named eight signs of unhappy employees. They include an increase in customer complaints, a toxic attitude, refusal to offer feedback which demonstrates a lack of employee engagement, refusal to socialize with coworkers on the job, and showing up late and leaving early. 

6. Monitor your organization’s culture – Declaring a company has a positive culture based on core values doesn’t make it a reality. One of the signs employees are disengaged, and prime for unionization is a noticeable unwillingness to support a positive organizational culture. A disregard for core values means employees don’t believe management is sincere about its stated values. 

You can assess and monitor your culture in a variety of ways. Certainly, employee surveys are one way but establish a benchmark to measure against. Other steps include analyzing the dynamics of employee interactions; bias claims lodged with management or the EEOC; the frequency with which employees share new ideas; negativity or positivity noted in employee answers to questions about the business; and measuring the level of cultural tensions in the workplace, to name a few. 

7. Invest in employee training that minimizes the need for unions – Training your employees on the disadvantages of unions is essential to staying union-free. Maintaining your union-focused website is one step. 

Other steps include sending frequent communication touting things like the value of direct communication between employees and managers, open opportunities for employees to voice concerns with managers, and reasons for opposition to union organizing. Projections, Inc. recommends using a variety of resources to heighten employee engagement, like online videos, tweets, text messages, email updates on real-world union activity harming businesses and thus employees and anything else that fits your workforce best. Companies can use eLearning courses that regularly engage employees in common union issues like health and safety, benefits, core values, communication with management, grievance procedures, and so on.

8. Don’t wait for unions to show up – Always staying prepared to respond to unions is critical. By the time you learn employees are talking to unions, they have been communicating for a while. You may not need a rapid response team, but you do need a well-developed response plan that is always ready to be put into action. You should have easy access to a labor professional or have in-house certified labor relations professional and be ready to communicate rapidly with your workforce about unions. If you have to train your managers’ supervisors, locate a labor law professional, develop information materials, get a website up and running and design an employee communication plan, the union will be way ahead of you. 

Help Employees Make Good Decisions

This industry may be seeing an uptick in union organizing attempts, but there are plenty of nurses and healthcare workers who also recognize the importance of staying union-free in the healthcare industry. In the articles mentioned, the employees who are against unionizing make it clear they have given a thoughtful analysis of the truth about unions. Employees who are engaged and informed are much less likely to get drawn into union organizing efforts. 

Projections, Inc. can help you avoid the mistakes some healthcare organizations have made while at the same time helping you develop an ongoing program and laborwise leadership that keeps your organization union-free. Don’t leave anything to chance. 

amazon vote results

Amazon Vote Results: What Do They Mean?

Leading up to the Amazon union vote ballot delivery to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on March 29, 2021, the pressure on employees to vote for unionizing at the Bessemer, Alabama plant grew intense. Supporters from other unions offered food and drink to organizers outside the facility and handed out pro-union material to employees leaving Amazon grounds. Neighborhood yards in Birmingham, Homewood, Bessemer, and other nearby cities sprouted signs saying “Vote Yes” for the union. Flashing digital billboards along interstate 59 encouraged people to vote for or support the union. Television news reports kept the organizing campaign in the public’s minds. Television and radio ads promoted the union. A tsunami of federal, state, and local politicians showed union support both in person and via social media and statements made to the media. Soon, the Amazon vote results will be known.

The employee union votes were counted on March 30, 2021, at the NLRB regional office. Union and Amazon representatives witnessed the count.

Win or Lose: Lessons to UnionProof By

Win or lose, the union vote to decide whether employees will be represented by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was a momentous occasion for many reasons. The Bessemer Amazon facility has around 6,000 employees, but they are just a tiny percentage of the total number of employees employed by Amazon. The company has approximately 1.2 million global workers, of which 600,000 are in the U.S. – only Walmart has more workers.

Amazon has come to represent companies that have managed to stay union-free, despite numerous efforts by unions, employee activists at various Amazon locations, and a host of alt-labor groups pushing for unionization. The company has held firm through walkouts at Amazon facilities in New York, Illinois, and Detroit; various protests and sickouts; and a unionization vote in a small Delaware warehouse. It has been publicly accused of lacking concern about human rights, making promises it doesn’t keep, refusing to give employees wage increases despite making billions in profits, and skimping on health and safety standards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through it all, Amazon’s management has been steadfast in explaining why it manages human resources the way it does and why it doesn’t support a unionized workforce. To date, employees have refused to vote in a union at any of the Amazon facilities.

There is speculation as to why this is so, and numerous employee online posts exist that give clues. Some like Amazon’s pay policy and benefits and know they can’t find jobs that pay more and provide them with health benefits upon hiring. Thousands of employees gave up low-paying jobs in various industries to join Amazon because they see a better future.

Others are pleased they have work that isn’t in the fast-food industry and don’t want to do anything to risk losing their Amazon jobs. Some employees say they fear retaliation by Amazon’s management should they show support for the union. They say their managers find a reason to fire them, i.e., violated company rules, can’t keep up with a grueling production schedule, won’t follow safety guidelines, etc.

Warehouse worker & Amazon Vote Results

Changing the Narrative

Now the Bessemer, Alabama union vote is changing the narrative. There should be no sighs of relief among your organization’s managers if the union doesn’t win the vote. The harsh reality is that losing the vote is likely to intensify unionizing efforts in other Amazon facilities located around the country. Even if the Bessemer facility does not unionize, this particular organizing effort will have a tangible impact on your ability to stay union-free.

One reason this is true is the Bessemer union organizing campaign has demonstrated the tremendous pro-union support that can rally now by utilizing technology in combination with in-person activities. The union organizing campaign showcased:

  • The vocal support of unions that politicians are willing to give when they once stayed neutral
  • The utilization of technology to virtually connect employees and organize supporters
  • Interest of employees in supporting organizing efforts in other locations and other industries besides their own in the belief the same thing will eventually take place where they work
  • The growing influence of alt-labor and other non-union organizations on unionizing
  • The strategy of utilizing one operational effort in an industry to find common cause in other industries, creating issues-based solidarity, i.e., truck drivers or warehouse workers across industries throughout the country
  • The ability to run a vigorous union organizing campaign in a Right-to-Work state
  • The fact that a focus on social and economic issues garners attention, i.e., Amazon’s union focusing on issues like racial pay disparities, which cuts across job titles and geography (issue of wealth inequality)
  • The fact that union organizing remains a long drawn-out effort that leads to brand reputation harm by giving union supporters plenty of time to portray management as non-response to human needs

As Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University, said about the organizing campaign at Amazon, “There are strikes and elections that become historical pivot points. This is one of them.” The Teamsters are already working to organize Amazon’s delivery operations, and construction unions are finding common cause with warehouse workers concerning workplace safety.

Alt-labor Organizations Have Growing Influence

The alt-labor organizations are not labor unions by law but help workers organize without a union label and advocate for change in health and safety, compensation, employee training, working conditions, and anything else employees want to be addressed. They have a growing influence which means your company must have a preventive strategy that addresses union and alt-labor organizing possibilities.

In other words – and this is important – you’re no longer opposing just the legal labor union. The Amazon union organizing campaign in Bessemer has received help from:

  • Warehouse Worker Resource Center – nonprofit dedicated to improving working conditions in Southern California’s warehouse industry; focuses on education, advocacy, and action to change poor working conditions; assists workers with dealing with wage theft, health and safety, and workers’ compensation issues; provides a community center where workers can learn from each other and share experiences.

  • Amazon Warehouse Associates Facebook Group -private Facebook group limited to Amazon employees; members discuss related concerns to find solutions collaboratively; calls itself a sleeping giant with unrealized potential.

  • Amazonians United – an independent organization of workers that run their own organization and determine strategy collectively; mission is to stand up to oppression and help employees fight for dignity and control over work, their lives, and their collective future; builds solidary with fellow workers across industries, borders, and workplaces.

  • Make Amazon Pay Coalition – a global coalition of many organizations that include unions, social and environmental organizations, charities, research and advocacy institutions, independent initiatives, and others; includes member politicians around the world.

  • Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation – a global organization with a mission to combat and counter acts of violence against Blacks; active in supporting the Amazon union campaign in Bessemer, Alabama because approximately 80 percent of its workforce is Black.

The alt-labor groups have many of the same impacts as legal labor unions, and it’s crucial that you utilize the same union preventive strategy steps to keep them out of your business, i.e., developing strong positive employee relations, giving employees a voice, having an effective grievance procedure in place, etc.

The List of Union Demands is Growing

At one time, you could be reasonably sure about what employees wanted. It usually involved issues like wage increases, compensation schedules, promotion policies, and grievance procedures. Union and employee demands are not nearly as predictable as they once were.

A good example is found on the Make Amazon Pay website. In November 2020, the Make Amazon Pay coalition, the group made up of workers, activists, and politicians, unveiled a list of demands on its website:

  • Improved health and safety – supplies, medical care, paid time off, etc.
  • Flexible schedules
  • End to employer surveillance of employees at work
  • Commitment to zero emissions by 2030 (note the alt-labor group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice)
  • Abolishment of Amazon Web Service contracts with fossil-fuel companies
  • Giving employees a voice
  • Allow Amazon employees to organize
  • Show sincere concern and caring for employees as people
  • Give employees protections from arbitrary dismissal

One of the major trends to note is that there are different types of union efforts today, as Ina Fried, Chief Technology Correspondent at Axios, points out. The traditional attempt involves employees asking for things like more wage increases. The more recent effort has workers, like tech workers, wanting a strong employee voice in things like the type of contracts or work their employer does. Notice the Make Amazon Pay list of demands includes Amazon ending contracting with fossil-fuel companies.

A number of employee unofficial organizing efforts today involve employees wanting their employers to exercise more social responsibility, like ending the production of greenhouse gasses, ending military contracts, increasing diversity hiring, and contributing to social justice and economic equity. The labor unions have taken note of and adopted the demands.

Happy employee & Amazon Vote Results

The Domino Effect is in Play Already

Opened in April 2020, the Amazon Bessemer facility has been operating for less than a year. In that short timeframe, the President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, Stuart Appelbaum, said he heard from the employees who were concerned about the risk of injuries, COVID-19 health and safety issues, the brutal pace of work, and the stress and strain of the job. Note that it didn’t take long for the union to get involved.

The union organizing campaign was started last summer. By November 2020, the NLRB was notified employees wanted to hold a vote. They got permission for the vote in December. Voting began in early February 2021, with the votes due to the NLRB regional office by March 29. Votes are tallied on March 30. A facility in operation for eleven months has now undergone a union vote. This indicates the efficiency with which labor unions operate and why your organization must have a strong preventive strategy in place at all times.

The domino effect is in progress already. Workers at other Amazon facilities are already looking for ways to unionize because they have become inspired by what is going on in Bessemer. Those who are pro-union will look at the Amazon loss as a chance to prove their spirit is invincible, and they’re in solitary in unionizing Amazon and not giving up the fight. Those who are pro-union will see an Amazon win as an opportunity to show that labor unions are still needed and being willing to fight hard will bring results. There is also a belief that this union effort in Bessemer will be a pivotal point for unionizing other tech companies in Silicon Valley like Google and forming more tech workers’ micro-unions.

It’s believed that even if Amazon wins, the company will pursue a number of actions. They may include:

  • Filing multiple objections to ballots which are decided by the NLRB regional director; the decision can be appealed to the NLRB in Washington, DC
  • Have election results set aside by demonstrating the union interfered in the election by creating confusion or fear of reprisals; may lead to revote
  • Draw out contract negotiations for 6-12 months
  • End up in a contract impasse with the hope it leads to decertification
  • File unfair labor practices

You can fight unionization. Law360 research found the percentage of elections won by unions went down by 10 percent during the pandemic. From June 1-September 11, 2021, the win rate was 65 percent. The average win rate for the three years before then was 72.96 percent.

The media hype and the reason so many politicians are so supportive of the RWDSU organizing campaign is because they know many Amazon employees are satisfied with their jobs. A number of current and past employees have publicly stated that Amazon is honest upfront during hiring about the physical requirements of the distribution center work. The alt-labor groups and politicians know prior unionizing efforts have failed for these types of reasons, so it’s in their favor to push employees to feel dissatisfied and abused by management.

Preventive Strategy is The Best Course

Of course, the best strategy is to never have to deal with a union organizing campaign by implementing an effective preventive strategy. The preventive strategy focuses on developing leaders who are good at creating positive employee relations (PER), which includes strengthening employee engagement. A lot can be learned from the Bessemer experience as to what employees want.

Jennifer Bates, a “learning ambassador” who trains new workers at the Bessemer facility, summed it up: “Being heard.” The unionizing effort is not really about getting more money or more benefits. It’s mostly about employees wanting to feel empowered and participatory in management’s decision-making process. It’s about employee voice.

The union preventive strategy is a set of goals and objectives that develop positive employee relations. Using the Amazon experience to pinpoint some of the ways your managers can strengthen PER and prevent union organizing, the following steps are essential to success.

  • Know what is important to your particular workforce, and don’t generalize, i.e., more voice, social justice, environmental protection, more constructive management feedback and interactions, career opportunities, etc.

  • Be transparent about your reaction to employee issues, rather than letting them fester. Ignoring employee concerns, rumblings, complaints posed to frontline supervisors about scheduling issues, comments posted on social media, and other indications there are issues developing will only give unions an opening. Management feedback is critical in every situation and should not depend only on an employee filing a formal grievance. You need to establish a communication system that enables the capture of data that can lead to early detection of employee issues or a process for reviewing online activity.

  • For example, a former Fulfillment Associate posted a review of Amazon on Indeed (3/10/21), “The job itself was simple, and the pay is adequate for tasks completed. However, management is extremely absent, good work is overlooked, and getting raises or promotions seemed impossible.” Address any issue transparently, including updating the “dark website” or preventive union organizing website to address issues.

  • Make sure your union-focused website is always current. A static website is a true turn-off for the digital generations of workers. They will click away in a matter of seconds. Employees will quickly figure out it doesn’t address relevant current workplace issues, increasing their vulnerability to unions. If you don’t acknowledge and respond to problems, the unions will. It’s also a missed opportunity to reinforce things like new benefits or scheduling policies to improve work-life balance.

  • Utilize a variety of social media options to connect with employees. The alt-labor organizations are found on multiple social media sites that include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok, YouTube, etc. They use mobile apps to make it easy for people to connect with others and find information; podcasts; videos; blogs; and online email registration to join a mailing list.

  • Develop responses to employee issues that are sincere and enforced. BAmazonUnion is an organizing campaign of the Mid-South Council of the RWDSU. It is focused on working conditions in Alabama facilities, i.e., Amazon, chicken processing plants, etc.

  • On its webpage is a video and a statement on “Why Do We Need a Union at Amazon?” It says, “Amazon sometimes addresses issues at work, but it’s all temporary.” This could be a real management issue or just hype. However, if your employees view management from this perspective, it’s vital to sincerely address it and develop new procedures for implementing and reinforcing changes.

  • Recognize the particular pressures on your workforce. Every business is different. You may not have an issue with strict production schedules. Your workforce may have issues with governmental compliance, frequent deadlines, too much overtime, fear of downsizing, high turnover, and so on. The American Institute of Stress says the leading causes of work-related stress are workload (46 percent), people issues (28 percent); juggling work and personal lives (20 percent); and lack of job security (6 percent). You won’t be able to relieve all stress on employees, but you should know and recognize what they are. Address them transparently and honestly so your workforce KNOWS you care and are doing what you can.

  • Reward your employees based on their effort. The Teamsters have admitted that $15 an hour starting pay and excellent benefits make it difficult to sell unions to employees. The unhappy Amazon employees don’t feel appreciated. However, there are other ways to recognize and reward employees to prove their effort is appreciated.

  • For example, a recognition and reward program significantly increases employee engagement by making them feel appreciated. O.C. Tanner, a recognition and rewards solutions provider, says, “Most companies see recognition and reward programs as a fundamental part of employee engagement, the employee experience, and workplace culture.” One of Amazon’s issues is that employees get good pay and great benefits but feel like unrecognized cogs on a production line.

  • Follow through with what you tout as a benefit. Disgruntled Amazon employees claim they are told upon hiring there are career growth opportunities. Once hired, many find the opportunities are minimal because technology is used extensively to monitor employees, meaning there are fewer supervisor and management positions needed. It’s important not to make statements you can’t follow up on. Once again, transparency and honesty are crucial in the entire talent management process, from recruiting to hiring and onboarding to training and performance reviews to promotions.

  • Eliminate all biases in your company’s policies and procedures.  It’s important to know what is really going on. Are wage increases and promotions administered equally without regard to personal characteristics? Is there racial or gender bias in supervisor decisions concerning who is allowed time off, appointed to exciting projects or teams, or given weekend work? Unconscious bias remains a serious problem in many companies and must be rooted out to stay union-free.

  • Always be prepared to respond to signs of union organizing quickly. You should have materials and resources ready or quickly accessible, something UnionProof is fully prepared to help you accomplish.

  • Know the facts about your company’s compensation and benefits policies by comparing them to the competition and industry benchmarks. Unions will always zero in on statistics that back up their claims. It’s not enough to say, “We pay $15 an hour.” Amazon says its distribution workers earn more than the average retail employees. However, a Seattle Times analysis found they often earn less than employees in the warehouse sector, which is largely unionized. A lot has to do with the area of operation and other factors, and your employees should have all the facts to avoid being misinformed.

Scanning boxes & Amazon Vote Results

Helping Your Organization WIN

There are other ways to strengthen positive employee relations. This list of ideas only addresses some of the issues specific to the Amazon union organizing campaign. It’s a dynamic work environment today, making it increasingly more difficult for employers to stay ahead of the unions and alt-labor organizations.

Whether the union wins or loses at Amazon in Bessemer, there’s no doubt the narrative on unions has changed. Don’t focus on the actual results. Focus on what can be learned from the Amazon experience and what it means for the future of your company in efforts to stay union-free.

Projections, Inc. recognizes how complex it has become to stay union-free strives to provide regularly updated critical information and state-of-the-art resources and tools you need to develop high-quality leadership, communicate with employees, and assess union vulnerabilities. UnionProof is dedicated to helping you develop a preventive strategy, and if a union organizing campaign starts, help you respond in a way that makes it more likely the union will fail. We are here to help you succeed in staying union-free.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by UnionProof

Why Corporate Social Responsibility Is Important To Your Preventive Strategy

In 2015, the Harvard Business Review published a forward-thinking article about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that discussed some principles that hold relevance today. CSR activities should align a company’s social and environmental goals with the business purpose and values. Corporate social responsibility should be a well-thought-out effort that supports the employer’s brand values and reflects a disciplined, coherent, and coordinated effort. It’s an effort that should embrace employees as stakeholders. When developed and implemented with these principles in mind, CSR becomes an important union preventive strategy and a positive brand reputation builder because organizational values are reinforced, and employees are included in the decision-making process.

All in a Name

Corporate Social Responsibility encompasses a variety of activities. It may be:

  • Philanthropy in which the company donates money to one or more nonprofits or community events
  • Social welfare in which the company offers employees and their family’s critical benefits
  • Employee volunteerism in communities doing things like local environmental clean-up
  • International training and employment programs that aid people living in poverty
  • Advertising campaigns addressing a social issue like child hunger, poverty
  • Contributions to disaster relief needed due to extreme weather events
  • Supporting of diverse businesses by providing the necessary training and support to grow their businesses and improve their ability to join the supply chain
  • Hiring diverse employees and giving them equal career opportunities
  • Supporting environmental sustainability initiatives that lead to reduced operational costs or contribute to the sustained flow of resources needed

Aligning corporate social responsibility with the business mission and goals ensures the programs, initiatives, and invested resources contribute to developing the right brand reputation. There are plenty of stories of social responsibility initiatives going wrong, even when the intentions were good. For example, some corporate advertisements seemed to perpetuate gender stereotypes and international programs that failed due to a lack of understanding of the local culture and norms.

When CSR Backfires

There are also corporate efforts that backfired when the intent was to be good corporate citizens and take care of employees. For example, tech companies implemented pandemic policies that gave parents additional paid time off. The backlash that came from employees without children took management by surprise.

The childless employees felt under-appreciated and overworked as they tried to assume some of the duties of the non-parent employees on paid leave. They also were coping with the pandemic. A rift between the two groups of employees developed at companies like Facebook, which had treated parents generously, with non-parents asking why they were not allowed paid leave as they dealt with the impacts of the pandemic and shifting workloads.

One aspect of all this is that younger childless employees working for tech companies tend to see generous benefits as payment for extended workdays. Now they were balancing multiple jobs like parents were balancing full-time parenting.

Good Intentions are Not Enough

When issues like benefits and brand reputation come into play, it’s clear that being socially and environmentally accountable requires more than just spending money or implementing new benefits. Good intentions are not enough, and that has implications for staying union-free. Companies are held responsible for the corporate social responsibility impacts, whether the impacts involve inequality or climate change, or employee engagement. The challenge is developing a CSR focus aligned with corporate business goals while also ensuring the effects on employees are reasonable and fair.

Employees are demanding more today. They want to work for companies that embrace CSR, but they are not tolerant of any perceived inequities your company may unintentionally support. You need policies and procedures in place that integrate environmental, social, human rights, ethical, and customer concerns into your core strategy. It’s a tall order, and as Facebook’s experience demonstrated, it’s challenging to make everyone happy. Some of the pitfalls that companies experience that lead to unionization include:

  • Making a cursory effort to be socially responsible
  • Using corporate social responsibility more for marketing purposes than for having a positive impact on stakeholders
  • Not sincerely engaging employees in CSR program development, implementation and operation
  • Making decisions that impact employee lives without their input

Recognize Employees as Stakeholders

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) published Corporate Social Responsibility: An Implementation Guide for Business in 2007. It is still an essential and relevant guide that presents six critical components for implementing an effective corporate social responsibility plan.

  1. Conduct a CSR assessment
  2. Develop a CSR strategy
  3. Develop CSR commitments
  4. Implement CSR commitments
  5. Report and verify progress
  6. Evaluate and improve

One of the most important steps is identifying all stakeholders, and your employees are stakeholders. Perhaps if the tech companies had communicated with employees first, they could have avoided creating the disruptive resentment between parent and non-parent employees. The IISD gives important consideration to employees, pointing out that stakeholders will expect to be recognized when the company has a direct or immediate and good or bad impact on them.

The CSR decisions should determine who will participate based on some criteria:

  • Significance of the CSR effect in the view of the employees on employees, families, and other community members
  • Importance of the stakeholders to operations
  • Risk of gathering incomplete information by excluding a group (i.e., Facebook excluded non-parents when developing pandemic policies)
  • Opportunity to access new ideas, i.e., employees may challenge current practices and provide new insights into problem-solving

Engaging Employees in Corporate Social Responsibility

Developing positive employee relations is a crucial union preventive strategy. CSR decisions should not be made in a vacuum because they impact employees in significant ways. The employee engagement process needs careful attention to ensure your organization’s intentions are communicated correctly. Employee communication rules, the implication being your leaders understand the importance of being great communicators who can share a vision!

  • Include representatives from all employee groups in the discussion
  • Communicate the current and proposed CSR policies to employees
  • Ask for employee feedback which gives employees a voice in decision-making
  • Use the appropriate language to communicate with non-English speaking employees
  • Make sure employees can express opinions without fear of retaliation for agreeing or disagreeing
  • Be sensitive to varied employee needs
  • Utilize a variety of employee engagement tools and approaches, i.e., in-person meetings, company Employee Resource Groups, pulse surveys, videos, podcasts, social media, etc.

All of these considerations are geared towards employee engagement which also equates to value creation for your company.

Honesty and Transparency

Honesty is vital to building employee trust. Not asking for feedback implies final decisions have been made about corporate social responsibility. People don’t want to be patronized, and they have instant access to local and global information. They will know what your company is doing in the community, in the country, and internationally. Accountability is also a critical CSR element. Whatever is implemented needs to be measured and reported, increasing transparency.

Corporate social responsibility should be an honest reflection of corporate purpose and decision-making. Otherwise, it becomes an Achilles heel or something unhappy employees or unions can latch onto. “See how hypocritical this company is? They work their employees to the bone and refuse to give them more money but claim they support social equity.” 

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) discussed that the Business Roundtable, a consortium of 180 U.S. CEOs, developed a new vision statement and put corporate responsibility at the forefront. Priorities include investing in employees and supporting local communities. New principles reflected the business leaders’ commitment to promote an economy that consists of a broader constituency of employees, local communities, local governments, partners, suppliers, credits, and union members. The vision statement lays out a commitment to employees that includes compensating employees fairly, providing critical employee benefits, providing training and education to employees to develop new skills, and fostering diversity and inclusion along with dignity and respect.

Corporate social responsibility is clearly about how well companies treat their workers. To meet the Business Roundtable’s definition of corporate responsibility will require business leaders to promote employee-driven cultures. Employees must participate in CSR, which in turn promotes a positive brand reputation. Staying union-free becomes much easier when CSR becomes a preventive strategy.

If CSR plans reflect a change, success depends on a positive corporate culture that embraces employee input and perspectives on how your company can improve social, economic, and/or environmental conditions. It may be strengthening family benefits is the best plan, or it may not be. It may be working within the community to improve economic status or funding a community training program, or investing in nonprofits pursuing social justice. Whatever is decided should reflect an employee-management collaboration.

Collaborating to Stay Union-Free

How your company handles corporate social responsibility has a significant impact on brand reputation and the ability to stay union-free. After determining the best corporate social responsibility approach, be sure to communicate the strategy to employees and the public. Projections, Inc. can help you develop the right communication solutions. It is an excellent opportunity to show appreciation for employee input and demonstrate to the public that employees and management collaborate. Engaged employees who are collaborating with management are not going to turn to unions.

bargaining for the common good

Labor Unions and Bargaining for the Common Good

You will increasingly hear a term in the coming months and years as labor unions strive to end the decline of union membership and become more relevant in a changing work environment and complex society. The term is “bargaining for the common good.” There is an organization called Bargaining for the Common Good Network (BCG). This organizing model is like an opportunity that has been waiting in the wings for a while in anticipation of the right set of conditions to emerge.

As labor unions re-evaluate their fundamental roles, they are increasingly focusing on embracing the needs of the larger community and workers. What does “bargaining for the common good” mean, and what can employers learn from this model to stay union-free?

Beyond One Union-One Employer Bargaining 

The BCG Network is not a labor union. It is a network of unions, community groups, student organizations, and racial justice organizations to take bargaining beyond the one union-one employer setup. Its advisory committee and conveners include people from a wide variety of organizations:

  • Community Voices Heard – member-led, multi-racial organization for women of color and low-income families
  • Public Accountability Initiative – nonprofit watchdog research organization focused on corporate power 
  • Vanderbilt Divinity School’s Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice – research on developing theologies and church models, rooted in organizing, the social movement, and liberative faith tradition
  • Partnership for Working Families – a national network of regional advocacy organizations supporting solutions to environmental and economic problems
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment – grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working for policies and programs to improve communities
  • Grassroots Collaborative – 11 membership-based organization working to build working family power through strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and training
  • Catholic Labor Network – an association of Catholic union activists collaborating with labor organizations to advance worker justice
  • Jobs with Justice – nonprofit focused on workers’ rights and developing an economy that benefits everyone
  • Multiple labor unions – AFSCME 3299 (University of California), Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Massachusetts Teachers Association, UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles), CWA (Communications Workers of America), Greater Boston Labor Council (chartered by the National AFL/CIO), NYC’s District Council 37), UAW (United Auto Workers), CTU (Chicago Teachers Union), District 1199 NE/SEIU (New England branch) 

There are three points to note. One is that there is a large and growing set of organizations with a specific focus on pressuring economic sectors and whole industries to bring change. The second point is that labor unions are heavily involved in many organizations and are moving towards organizing for the common good. The third point is that many of the socially-focused organizations and the labor unions are coalescing into a stronger united front.

Organizing by Any Other Name

Bargaining for the Common Good is a labor organizing model, plain and simple. The BCG and other groups adopting the Common good model are looking at organizing through a different lens than the standard labor union. The members of the movement don’t believe unions should negotiate with a single employer to achieve the greatest results. They do believe labor unions should fight to bring social, racial, economic, and environmental change to whole industries or whole segments of the economy. To do so requires engaging communities. 

An article in Dissent Magazine names three principles characterizing the Bargaining for the Common Good approach.

  1. Participants are consciously working to transcend the traditional labor union bargaining frameworks supported by law. They want to force the largest and most powerful financial entities dominating local economies to the bargaining table in some manner by highlighting how they control community resources.
  2. Community and union allies are developing bargaining demands together and think of individual labor union campaigns (one union-one employer) as steps in a larger long-term strategy of bringing workers and community members together to gain a louder voice and achieve change. They are building long-lasting alignments that accumulate power through common campaign victories and a common vision and narrative instead of short-lived alignments that end when a traditional union campaign is finished.
  3. There is an assumption that collective and sometimes even civil disobedience (think protests and strikes) will be necessary.

What is driving this movement and collaborations? There is a growing opinion among those who want to stop the decline of union membership that it can only happen if labor unions modernize. 

Traditional Collective Bargaining

The thinking goes like this: The traditional form of collective bargaining – union vs. single employer – is unable to meet worker needs because conditions have changed so much since the 1970s. These changes include:

  • Financialization in which powerful financial markets gained control of the economy (creating power at the top)
  • Loss of corporate management control to financial markets
  • Growth of monopolistic companies like Amazon exerting undue influence over the economy
  • Growth in the use of subcontractors and temporary workers
  • Globalization of supply chains that created distance between workers and those who could improve their conditions
  • Enhanced awareness of racial and gender inequalities
  • Economic inequities among communities
  • The realization that even when workers unionized, they have limited ability to bring change to their workplaces because of strict labor laws and corporate power
  • Employer initiated changes like moving employees out of defined pension plans to 401K plans
  • Offshored work
  • Limited wage increases and corporate threats of downsizing

It is a whole set of events that have led to unions losing membership.

New Demands at the Negotiating Table

As unions struggle to find a way to modernize their approach to organizing, they are looking beyond workplace issues and considering broader issues of employees in their work and personal lives. The Common Good approach engages community members and workers as “whole people.” Labor unions are forming coalitions with community organizations to make demands that benefit communities of people rather than a group of employees at a place of business.

Unions that have the right to collective bargaining use the contract negotiations as an opportunity to organize with community partners around a set of demands that benefit the wider community as well as the bargaining unit. This has the potential to seriously change the contract negotiation process. The union won’t be focused only on increasing wages in your workplace or adjusting work schedules, or establishing seniority rights. They will include a myriad of demands.

Rutgers University posted a document listing real-world examples of bargaining efforts using the principles of the common good. Here are a few by category to give you an idea of the different types of topics labor unions are addressing with employers. They are demands made directly to the employer during contract negotiations or are demands made on organizations that use certain businesses, like banks or companies in a supply chain. 

Examples of Bargaining “For The Common Good”

  • Racial justice: Minnesota Property Services Union, SEIU Local 26 demanded a company remove questions on employment applications concerning a potential employee’s criminal record.
  • Climate Justice: SEIU Local 26 demanded a company provided a healthy and safe workplace for employees and utilize materials that contribute to environmental sustainability.
  • Education: Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 28/NEA demanded the school district divest from banks that foreclose during the school year on families with students. Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 59/EdMN/NEA demanded the district stop purchasing products made by companies owned by Koch Industries.
  • Finance: The Committee for Better Banks, CWA Union is organizing bank workers to demand fairer sales goals and end predatory practices. The Minnesota Property Services Union, SEIU Local 26, is demanding US Bank restart remittances to Somalia, allowing its Somalian immigrant workers to send money to their families.
  • Immigration: Las Vegas Culinary Employees, UNITE HERE Local 226, demanded a hotel allow DACA and TPS employees to keep their jobs and seniority if they return within five years after being forced to leave their job.
  • Private Sector: Hertz Employees Union, Teamsters Local 117 demanded an employer allow Muslim employees the right to attend daily prayers during breaks without clocking out and reinstate workers fired for this reason.
  • Privatization: San Diego County Employees, SEIU Local 221, Invest in San Diego Families demanded the county ensure all contracted employees are paid a livable wage with access to essential benefits.
  • COVID-19: Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 3; Baltimore Teachers Union demanded Comcast make the Internet Essentials program for families available until 60 days after students can return to school, increase upload and download speeds so families can learn and work from home at the same time, and open residential hotspots to the public. 

These are just some of the categories where negotiating frameworks based on the Bargaining for the Common Good are focused. The list of categories is expected to grow, and efforts will get more sophisticated as time goes by.

Union Militancy and Strikes?

The BCG describes elements of this new bargaining model. Following are some that all employers should be aware of because they are likely to impact how you deal with unions, whether or not they are Common Good organizations or NLRA defined labor unions. They will also impact your efforts to maintain positive employee relations over the long-term.

  • Unions and community organizations have a shared vision
  • Initiate campaigns that don’t end once the union settles its contract
  • Expand the scope of bargaining beyond wages and benefits and identify issues that impact communities, and address structural issues and not just symptoms of problems
  • Go on the offense in the campaign by identifying, exposing, and challenging the real villains (the corporate and financial actors who profit from and drive policies and action)
  • Engage community allies as partners in issue development and the bargaining campaign
  • Center racial justice in campaign demands by addressing the role of employers in creating and exacerbating structural racism in communities

Debates About the Value of the “Common Good” Model

There is an interesting three-way debate on Organizing Work about the value of the Common Good model. The debaters are Organizing Work publisher Marianne Garneau, labor organizer, and journalist Chris Brooks, and veteran union negotiator and author Joe Burns. 

Chris Brooks makes the point that unions adopting the Common Good framework have used their leverage in the workplace to fight for Common Good demands. He writes, “It seems to me that they [unions] are showing how these bigger picture issues, like affordable housing and a lack of universal health insurance coverage and employee misclassification, have their solution in workplace fights and specifically in strikes. They didn’t win them by just organizing outside the workplace, but by organizing both in the workplace and the community. But obviously, it was the strike action that was decisive.”

The debate continued to specifically address the private sector. Joe Burns calls for “renewed militancy among workers” and goes on to say the militancy is not going to develop from the existing union framework. Chris Brooks agrees that union power is derived from the ability to shut down production but also points out that there are many examples of private-sector unions turning individual workplace struggles into broader messages about corporate greed. 

He gives the example of the hotel workers’ strike message “One Job Should Be Enough.” The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) CTU’s used a Bargaining for the Common Good framework during their strike against an employer that imposed two-tier wages at a GE-owned locomotive manufacturing plant. Their picket signs read “On Strike for the Jobs Our Communities Deserve.” Using this theme was intended to point out that lower wages hurt the local community. GE returned to the negotiating table. 

Climate change is another looming issue that will impact employers and communities. What is the role of unions? Chris Brooks presents an alarming picture. “Transforming our economy to meet the challenge of climate change will literally be the fight of our lives. It will require militant collective action: plant occupations and blockades, targeting chokepoints in the supply chain, defying injunctions to apply the pressure necessary to make the climate crisis an immediate economic and political crisis for the powers-that-be. “

Clearly, Bargaining for the Common Good is a complex issue. Whether or not this framework will become a driving force for changing the current labor union approach remains to be seen. However, there are many indications already that unions and employees are adopting some of the principles – issues-based organizing campaigns reaching employees across the industry, geography, or economic sector; clubhouse app giving invite-only people from around the world access to topic-specific discussions; employee protests over systemic racism that impacts employees and communities; alternative labor groups like Worker Centers; and recently the formation of the Alphabet Workers Union, to name a few. 

Employers Embrace Common Good 

By now, you are probably thinking that staying union-free is going to an extremely difficult goal to meet with employees organizing in so many different ways. However, you can get in front of the waves of changes by rigorously adhering to a strategy for maintaining positive employee relations and adopting some of the same principles as the Common Good framework but applying them differently.

First, employers must consider the employee as a “whole person” and not just a worker. What this means is considering your employee’s work and personal lives. Issues like systemic racism, bringing the authentic self to work, accommodating the needs of groups of employees based on factors like family requirements (i.e., caregiving time, flexibles, etc.) or religion (i.e., prayer time, religious holidays, etc.); and integrating corporate social and environmental responsibility and employee work goals. Addressing these kinds of areas or interests is for employees as well as the common community good. 

Other ways employers can address the Common Good include many of the approaches Projections, Inc. regularly discusses as strategies to stay union-free through effective leadership.

Stay Union-Free With Effective Leadership

  • Identify critical issues for employees with well-honed leadership listening skills 
  • Partner with community organizations to improve worker and community member lives
  • Address issues beyond wages and benefits 
  • Make social (racial, gender, etc.) justice a principle of operation
  • Address difficult decisions concerning employees with transparency and honesty
  • Engage employees by using the many tools and resources available today, from pulse surveys to cultural events to communication systems that include social media, webinars, emails, videos, etc.
  • Train managers and supervisors to give and receive feedback 
  • Maintain a positive company culture based on good values that employees embrace 

ERGs can play an important role in identifying the “big picture” of employee lives in the larger community and world, i.e., cultural competency and social responsibility. Liz Valadez, Global Community Liaison for Latinx and Senior Program Manager, Strategic Initiatives at Workday, states succinctly, “ERGs play two significant roles: They’re the voice of the organization to its members, and they’re also the voice of their members to the organizations.” 

Workday’s Jillian Ogawa believes ERGs can become strategic partners in advancing corporate social responsibility and deepening cultural competency by enabling employees to become thought partners. This role is especially important to millennials who want to work for organizations that offer them opportunities to improve communities, address social and environmental challenges and participate in open discussions. 

Be Proactive to Stay Union-Free

The times certainly are changing. Whether or not labor unions move more towards the Bargaining for the Common Good framework, the proverbial handwriting is on the wall. It’s undeniable that labor unions and other forms of unionizing are gaining momentum again. Projections, Inc. stands ready to help employers thrive as union-free companies in the face of a complex, dynamic, and transforming business environment. 

online union organizing

Issues-Based Campaigns Lead to Online Union Organizing

Here is a fact: unions are rapidly getting more tech-savvy after a slow acceptance of online organizing as an effective strategy. Things are changing fast as labor unions discover the internet’s power to deliver employees access in an even more advantageous way. The internet enables reaching people from coast-to-coast and north-to-south and even internationally. Couple this with the fact the next generations of potential union members (millennials, Gen Z) utilize technology for everything – connecting with family and friends, finding information resources, working remotely, shopping, and making appointments.

The internet is the ideal forum for union organizing, but there is another dynamic. Employees interested in joining forces for a stronger voice are increasingly starting with issues-based organizing within their companies. It’s not an NLRA protected labor union campaign, so it’s tempting to think it’s not as serious. That’s a mistake for two reasons.

Issues-Based Organizing Campaigns

One reason is that the issues-based organizing has proven to be successful at pressuring employers to meet demands and at interfering with productivity through walkouts and protests. The second reason is that issues-based organizing is only a heartbeat away from labor union organizing. Employees feel empowered by joining together to bring change, are familiar with the advantages of a collective voice, and begin to think in terms of a bigger, louder, and more inclusive voice. It is a perfect setting for labor unions. 

What is meant by an issues-based organizing campaign? Think of it as a way for workers to use their influence to bring about specific changes. It could be one issue or multiple issues. Though issues like pay and workplace safety are typical issues, the issue-based campaign can address matters like your organization’s environmental sustainability policies and practices, involvement in projects considered irresponsible because they violate social equity or human rights, and the status of temporary workers who couldn’t join a traditional labor union. Millennials first drove the issues-based organizing, but now there are growing numbers of Gen Z workers who also embrace technology as a source of empowerment.

Employees Empowering Themselves

It may seem a bit farfetched for employees to organize over corporate values issues, but that is what they are doing. There are now several examples of online organizing platforms that employees are using to start and run organizing campaigns based on one or more issues. Coworker.org is a nonprofit funded by the New Venture Fund and accepts contributions. It’s an online issues-based organizing site that enables workers to start and manage petitions asking for(demanding) change. To understand the difference between a traditional union organizing campaign issues and the type of issues the online organizers address, check out Coworker.org’s ideas on how it can empower employees.

  • Ensuring jobs are safe and secure (typical union issues), but the nonprofit adds “satisfying” to the description
  • Helping employees shift power in a changing economy
  • Creating digital tools and communities that employees can use to advocate for change
  • Preventing employers from dismantling labor and employees rights through the use of technologies like data mining, surveillance, and fissuring of the workplace
  • Helping workers find financial support for organizing
  • Helping gig workers get fair pay and treatment

It’s only fair to say that Coworker.org is more innovative and more advanced than the typical labor union thanks to its use of technology, so it’s not surprising younger generations of workers are turning to this type of organizing source. For example, Coworker.org partnered with employees in the tech sector to launch the first-ever crowdfunded mutual aid nonprofit designed to help the tech industry and independent contractors. They say they face retaliation for workplace organizing. Using the language of unions, it’s called the Solidarity Fund.

Values-Based Issues

In another example of the kinds of issues employees believe they should have a say in, Etsy employees used Coworker.org to start a petition objecting to some top management decisions. Etsy employees believed management was violating its commitment to not be a “typical corporation” and lead by example in environmental sustainability, diversity, and inclusion in tech, portable benefits, and tax code simplification for microbusinesses. 

When management laid off 20 percent of the workforce and some projects were canceled, employees believed “values-aligned efforts” were threatened. The employees wanted the company to provide health insurance to sellers, explain to the Etsy community why projects were canceled, recommit to sustainability, and more. 

union organizing online

Online Platforms For Organizing Employees

Then there’s Frank, an online platform for privately organizing employees on campaign issues like ending forced arbitration for sexual misconduct cases and calling to form a workplace diversity and inclusion committee. Traditional issues like wages and workplace conditions are some of the issues, but there are templates for organizing on topics like ethics, getting an employee reinstated that others believe wrongfully terminated, the bias in the workplace, ending pay secrecy, and others.

Employees create a campaign on Frank from scratch or by using a Frank template. The campaign includes a description of the issue, a demand letter, an invitation to coworkers to collaborate, and attachments that add context. The campaign goes live and invites coworkers to join in the discussion and sign on. Once a minimum of 51 percent of workers sign on to the campaign, the demand letter is sent to managers. If management fails to respond, workers can vote on the next steps to take, such as wearing unity items like pins, going public, coordinating a sick out, and so on. Employees are encouraged to take action.

Another tech-based program that is sure to become a popular organizing tool during 2021 is the Clubhouse App. This is an invite-only drop-in audio app for a social network based on voice. People worldwide can talk, listen and learn from each other on any issue they wish to discuss. Since it’s by invitation only, a manager couldn’t listen in on a group of employees who want to discuss unionizing, for example. UnionProof just recently discussed the implications of the Clubhouse App for employers. 

The professionals at UnionProof anticipate many changes to union organizing in 2021.

There is another twist to organizing online in Unit, also an online organizing platform. This platform helps employees form independent unions that are considered legal labor unions that give employees protected rights under the NLRA. The union is not affiliated with the powerful national labor unions. It intends to keep the power of organizing and negotiating in the hands of employees rather than the large labor unions. 

An independent union is formed that is ‘run by you, your coworkers and nobody else – each of you gets a vote,” says the Unit website. Employees utilize Unit to invite coworkers and sign a digital union election petition. When 70 percent of coworkers sign the petition, and the petition is sent to the NLRB, a union vote is held, and a contract is negotiated. The unit takes care of contract management and reporting to union members. The Unit fees are .8 percent of monthly earnings, and employees set their own membership dues. All the membership dues go towards the workplace and are not shared with a national union. The Unit Union members can vote to join a national union like the AFL-CIO.

online union organizing

All About Maintaining Positive Employee Relations

All of these issues-based platforms have one thing in common – they offer employees a way to connect. The second thing they have in common is that employers who fail to respond to independent organizing campaigns are likely driving their employees to a national union. Certainly, some employers ignore independent unions – or try to – as indicated by the fact the platforms address “next steps.” It is important that you adhere to the best practices in employee engagement because improving positive employee relations can prevent independent organizing and prevent a union from organizing.

Organizing in any form is organizing. Following are some of the most important principles to keep in mind as employees find new ways to organize.

  • Always respond to employees, whether it is a suggestion in a suggestion box, a formal grievance filed, or an independent union demand letter
  • Implement feedback systems to stay on top of issues that employees care about, including social media
  • Strengthen transparency on issues like projects initiated or canceled, environmental sustainability, social equity, and diversity, and inclusion because employees want to work for companies that practice Corporate Social Responsibility; also be transparent on the company’s union-free philosophy
  • Train your managers and supervisors on ways to strengthen employee engagement 
  • Train your managers and supervisors on union practices, organizing strategies and language; the NLRA; TIPS, and FOE; detecting signs of employee organizing and what to do should signs of organizing become evident
  • Strengthen the positive organizational culture because employees who are interested in organizing probably do not feel supported or fear retaliation should they bring up issues
  • Utilize a variety of communication channels that involve all layers of the organization to ensure the entire workforce is engaged, i.e., senior manager videos posted online; training and information podcasts for mid-managers and supervisors; website and enterprise social media for employee access; union focused “dark” website taken live to reinforce the company philosophy on labor unions 
  • Celebrate employee accomplishments and their contributions to organizational success

With online union organizing growing, it’s important to keep the company’s stance on unions front and center, rather than waiting for obvious union organizing signs. The organizing may be easily taking place under the proverbial radar. 

Tech-Based Collective Voice

Employees are turning to technology to find a collective voice that can exert pressure on their employer. That voice believes it should influence issues that management has historically seen as only belonging to management. Our advice at Projections, Inc. is to never underestimate the power of independent unions to disrupt your business, harm your company’s reputation, and impact your ability to hire and retain the best talent. An independent non-NLRA sanctioned union is only a hop-skip-and-jump to a formal labor union. 

Developing positive employee relations has never been more important than it is today as younger generations of workers expect to influence how companies are managed, operated, and impact communities and resources, and they want inclusion in decision-making. It’s a brave new world of union organizing. 

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