Using a Dedicated Website to Communicate During a Union Organizing Drive

If you’re committed to keeping your organization union-free, you need to make sure your online employee relations resources are as powerful as what any union might offer your employees. At the top of this list of resources should be an employee-focused website that helps not only during union organizing campaigns, but can be a resource that is used for employee reference anytime they should need it. Unions are among today’s most active social media marketers, utilizing social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter to lead organizing drives. So if your organization fails to address – and answer – unions’ online and social media outreach, you could be sitting at the bargaining table before you know it. Add to that the fact that employees can now sign union authorization cards online, and you’ll come to the conclusion that you’ve got to reach your employees where they are.

Projections Inc. is a leading resource for video, eLearning, and custom website solutions for companies in all industries. With decades of experience, we’ve had the pleasure of helping organizations to stay union-free and consistently empower and educate their teams with the resources they need. We will cover why it’s so important to have a custom website for union organizing, and steps you can take to make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to protect your workplace from a union. In our experience, we believe that focusing on creating a culture where unions simply aren’t necessary is key to increasing employee engagement and retention, and building a workplace that is truly union-proof.

Social Media Among Generations

According to the Pew Research Center, 93 percent of Americans use the Internet. Among Millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 29, the figure is even higher, at 99 percent! Even more significantly, as of 2021, Millennials make up at least 35 percent of the workforce as of 2021, meaning they make up the largest percentage of today’s workforce. And poised to reach them, with their robust social media marketing machine, is organized labor.

Take into consideration some of the pro-union groups utilizing social media to reach your employees. The Teamsters (IBT), for example, boasts almost a quarter of a million “Likes” on their Facebook page. UniteHERE! has nearly 40,000. The SEIU boasts over 60,000, and has just as many Twitter followers. With new social media platforms, such as Clubhouse, a private app, with no record of what’s discussed, open to anyone with an invitation, you don’t have to be a social media expert to know the potential implications. It’s no secret that union organizing is continuing to grow virtually, and utilizing every platform possible to reach more people and spread their pro-union rhetoric.

Your company employs state-of-the-art technology to enhance production and performance. You invest in the best talent money can buy and work hard to create and preserve your reputation as an employer of choice. Unions, on the other hand, tap into their online network of thousands of organizers to militantly accost workers through social media, often spreading misinformation and false accusations. Organized labor certainly isn’t shy about boasting of their social media organizing drives, and more and more unions are now conducting card signing drives online.

website for union organizing

A Manager-Facing Website for Union Organizing

First things first: effective union avoidance strategies are a two-way street, and involve sincere actions on your part. A big part of this relies on positive employee relations,  When your workers understand that they’re a valued part of your business, both of your jobs become much easier. You may wonder if your workplace is more vulnerable to union-organizing, and you can take a free quiz here to find out how susceptible your organization may be.

To protect your organization from the unions’ influence, start with a dedicated, password-protected website that will provide your managers and supervisors the support they need. A management-side website can give your supervisors the tools, the resources, and the confidence they need to quickly respond to any “ambush” union organizing drives, whether online or off.

What goes into a site like this for managers? Begin with detailed information on what to do, who to contact, what to say (and not say) in the event of organizing activity. More in-depth information such as specifics on the union or unions most likely to target employees, including their finances, membership, and current state of affairs.

The Benefits of Employee Sites, Dark Sites, and More

By far one of the most effective campaign tools is a private website dedicated to addressing your employees’ questions and concerns, as well as anything union organizers might be saying. Crafting a “dark site” (meaning 95% complete, but not yet online)  ahead of organizing activity allows you the flexibility to respond quickly to ambush elections and launch your site the moment you receive a union petition. If you’re not familiar with the basics of a dark website for union organizing, you can learn more here to educate and empower yourself on the benefits. The just-in-time nature of a dark website means your team can address the issues immediately, without worrying about the technology!

Consider these points when planning your site:

  • Experience matters! Especially when creating a dark site, you may not know what you don’t know yet – but an experienced provider will, and can help you anticipate what content you’ll need.
  • Choose a smart, memorable URL
  • Tracking is key – do NOT plan to track individual visitors, but instead use your tracking data to understand what concerns are urgent, and where you need to provide additional information
  • Don’t be afraid of two-way conversations. Plan to allow for anonymous submissions – and answer those questions!

employee-focused website

What to Include in Your Employee-Focused Website: 

Your employee-focused site should provide the following helpful information:

  • Engaging, accurate and frequently updated information on compensation, benefits and the costs involved with union dues.
  • Interactive elements, such as a strike calculator
  • Videos highlighting the benefits of being union-free — video makes the site more “sticky,” or engaging, and most people (of all generations) prefer video to reading
  • Transparency, including a forum for workers to anonymously air concerns and ask questions
  • Remember that your site will reach not just employees but their families. Even if you choose to password-protect it (which we highly recommend), the union supporters will have access to the site. The more straightforward and factual the site is, the more this will work in your favor.

Next Steps

If you have found that your organization may be vulnerable to union organizing, or you simply want to be prepared in the event a union organizing drive occurs, we’re here to help! Whether you need to prepare for union organizing, educate and inform throughout the campaign itself, or stay in touch during contract negotiations – we’ve got the tools you need to make your online communications a success. Contact the Projections team today, or book a screenshare demo to see some examples and explore your specific needs.

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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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