7 Helpful Tips to Prevent a Union from Organizing

Transparency and communication play a pivotal role in order to prevent a union from organizing. Organizational heads need to take the lead in resolving employee issues as well as maintaining an open door policy. Employees need to feel that leadership is pro-worker rather than anti-union.

Why Do Unions Organize?

Typically, unions come in as a third party to enhance employees’ welfare. They mostly bargain for better employee checks, regulated working hours, a safe working environment, and fair treatment.

Employers can meet these needs freely without the need for union organizing. Shrewd HR managers cultivate a union-free culture where employees find amicable solutions within the internal systems of the organization.

Essentially, employees will unionize when the existing systems do not support their welfares satisfactorily. Developing a culture that promotes a healthy working environment, teamwork and a sense of belonging will go a long way in preventing unions from organizing. The idea of a union-free culture should be introduced to all staff in the initial stages as they get absorbed in the organization.

During induction processes, the HR team should take time and share the company’s stand on unions. A union statement can easily be shared alongside other training materials.

Organizations that value being union-free make continuous deliberate efforts to ensure they are not susceptible to unionization. They do this by inculcating a union-free culture among all workers. Certainly, there are several ways to enhance this. Let’s discuss the tips your workplace can implement to prevent a union from organizing.

Why Do Employees Join Unions

1. Creating a Friendly Working Environment

Firstly, you can begin by curbing any forms of staff mistreatment. Employees need to feel secure at all times. You should give room for everyone in your workplace to air their concerns and grievances.

Additionally, encouraging open conversations between juniors and their supervisors is one way of creating a vibrant atmosphere for everyone in the workplace. Employees revere bosses who provide a clear roadmap of how things should be done.

Most importantly, you don’t want your employees to suffer in silence. Employees need to know they can share confidently and confidentially. Ultimately, a friendly workplace prevents unions from organizing, since teams can share issues at hand freely.

2. Recognize Staff Efforts and Reward Extra Miles

Innovation, hard work, teamwork, and company growth milestones should be marked by some sort of celebration. Each employee’s contribution to the bigger vision matters and should, therefore, be celebrated. You can appreciate your staff using cash, trips, promotion, and training.

One way of promoting transparency is by maintaining competitive pay practices. You should let everyone know the procedures and rationale used in rewarding individuals and groups. Additionally, let them know how you will decide on a standard payment.

Be proactive, survey the market, and establish what competition is offering and create salary brackets that meet or exceed market rates. Make this part of the discussion during interviews; let potential employees share their expected salaries.

3. Develop Transparent and Fair Dispute Resolution Practices

Be sure to solve any disputes early and amicably using standard company procedures. When attrition mushrooms, you need to be decisive and objective. Supervisors should be in a position to curb arising concerns before they blow up.

Furthermore, employees should also have the lee-way to seek further support if the immediate supervisor is perceived biased or for some reason is unable to resolve the issue at hand.

How To Avoid Unionization

4. Maintain Open-Door Policy to Prevent a Union from Organizing

Cut arteries that feed union organizations by maintaining an open-door policy. In the case where cluster supervisors are unavailable or incapacitated, allow rank-and-file employees to escalate the issues to higher offices.

To achieve this, you need to establish clear communication channels. If employees have the assurance that you can listen, and provide feedback, then they will have no desire to join the union. It is imperative that your employees feel comfortable walking into any supervisor or manager’s door and have their concerns heard. Not only that, they should feel confident that any concerns will also be addressed — as required.

5. Involve The Staff in The Decision Making Process 

Certainly, it is your responsibility as a manager to seal any loopholes that can trigger possible unionization. You can outmaneuver those who want to organize unions by being receptive and empathetic. Additionally, you can take views from the whole group, or have staff appoint representatives who can speak on their behalf. Supportive channels like suggestion boxes, whistleblowing emails, and open forums can also come in handy.

6. Provide Clear Policy Guidelines on Circulation of Company Information

Tighten all the loose ends in the workplace by disseminating information on policy and procedure changes before they are enacted. Consider training staff on policies and procedures so that they can embrace them.

Oftentimes, staff will feel ambushed if new policies are applied without prior updates. Avoid changing policies during union campaigns as this can be seen as a manipulation of the labor practice.

7. Expose Employees to The Challenges Associated with Joining Unions

Unfortunately, most employees just sign up without even realizing the repercussions of joining a union. To avoid this, you should make it a priority to educate them on the charges involved and your organization’s position on unions.

Employees are more likely to be drawn to unions if they feel their grievances keep falling on deaf ears. If they have raised the same issues over and over and no attention is paid to them, they are likely to unionize and start organizing. To prevent possible unionization, you need to listen and attend to your employees’ grievances. Remember, communication plays a major role in order to prevent a union from organizing.

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and the founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.

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