What are the Advantages of a Preventive Union Organizing Website?

There are two paths employers take when dealing with the issue of union organizing. One is to be reactive in communicating with employees to keep a union out, including a campaign-focused website. The second path is to prepare ahead and plan on taking additional action when (or if) a union organizing campaign starts. That's one of the differences between choosing to maintain a live informational website and creating a 95-percent complete dark website that goes live after union activity starts.

Communication with a Goal

There are many union-focused preventive measures your company can take to keep unions at bay. They include sharing the company's union-free operating philosophy during the job candidate's interview process, developing leaders in the art and science of engaging employees, and educating employees on the reasons to stay union-free. 

There is something that ties all three steps together - effective organizational communication. Productive communication can take many forms – brochures, signage, videos, eLearning programs, emails, and social media. However, people today are "always on." They want access to 24/7 websites that are also mobile-friendly. A full-time preventive union organizing website is an ideal communication tool for all employees that's available around the clock and accessible from any location. 

A preventive union organizing website can be launched with the intent to educate and inform employees so they understand the implications of unionization, or one responding to a union organizing campaign at any stage. The first option is the ideal one because it becomes a trusted information source that not only helps employees understand why unionizing is not a good decision, but also helps communicate the company's philosophy on unions.

UnionFree.com: Keeping the Light On

Your site can be a fully customized, preventive union-focused website that is live full-time. The prevention, in that case, refers to preventing unionization by encouraging employees to not support early union efforts or ensuring employees know they can vote against unionizing if an election is held. The website can also be kept dark (ie: not live) but "active ready" for launch during a union campaign.

Either way, your employee-focused website should be designed to make it easy to drop in union-specific information and facts, should active organizing begin. Your website should reflect the unique characteristics of your company – brand, employer-employee relationships, community relations, and demographics.

 "Most employers wait until they have a union problem before they go live with a dark site," says Projections, Inc. President, Chris Craddock. Projections brands include UnionProof.com, UnionFree.com, and LaborLook.com. "A union organizing campaign can begin before the employer even learns of the effort," continued Craddock, "not just when a petition for election is filed with the National Labor Relations Board."

Union representatives have investigated your company, identified what they consider weaknesses, designed a "talking points" agenda, and talked to employees or people who can influence employees. Almost suddenly, it seems union representatives are influencing employees.

RELATED: How Do I Get Started With a Dark Site For Union Organizing?

Transparent and Ahead of the Unions

Employers have the right to proactively explain to employees why they believe unions are not in their best interest, and how unionization is likely to affect the company. Whether or not a formal union organizing campaign has started, there are many benefits to keeping a customized preventive union organizing website available at all times, including the following:

  • A preventive site's tone and language can communicate and reinforce the importance of a direct connection to management;
  • An employee-facing site can preempt common union claims, arming employees with factual information;
  • Your preventive UnionFree.com site can offer 24/7 availability of the company's open-door policy, dispute resolution procedures, even a direct line to management
  • Your custom site for employees makes it easy to share timely company information with everyone quickly
  • Communicating the facts around issues a union organizer might try to stir up is easy, and addressing evolving issues can be a snap, i.e., benefits package changes, revised HR policies, etc.
  • You can meet employees where they are by linking the site to your employee-facing social media
  • Employees today are comfortable getting information via video, so your site can include custom video messages as well as topics around organizing, bargaining, and more
  • Your site can include an anonymous FAQ page that employees can access 24/7 to ask questions anonymously or share information with company leaders, giving managers insights into what employees are thinking about a variety of topics from grievance procedures to compensation.
  • A UnionFree.com site gives managers and supervisors a specific place to direct employees for correct legal answers to their questions;
  • Your site also delivers a uniform message to all employees across the organization;
  • Your video content can even include documentary-style information on what really happens after unionization;
  • UnionFree.com sites encourage employees to investigate the facts about unions before making any decision;
  • An employee-facing site establishes a trusted starting point for customizing a rapid response when union activity is detected, from card signing campaigns to union petitions
  • Your site can use language that informs them of their choices and keeps employees feeling empowered, like "you also have the right to NOT join a union."
  • Your site can also support your "open door" management policy by inviting offline discussion

"When it's kept fresh or updated, a preventive union organizing website also keeps employees coming back to the website. This is a powerful employee engagement tool," says Jennifer Orechwa, Chief Operating Officer at Projections. 

That's what the proactive full-time preventive union-focused website is really all about – keeping employees engaged, and their thinking and beliefs aligned with the facts and not with union false claims and promises they can't keep. For example, unions promise employees they'll get certain benefits or an automatic pay increase. If the workforce unionizes, the reality is there is a long drawn-out negotiation process between the union and the employer. Employees could end up with more, they could end up with exactly what they have now, or they could even end up with less. That's the fact, and that's what your site should communicate

Think Proactively

Why are most customized union organizing websites sitting on the proverbial shelf collecting dust? One reason is that employers are afraid to mention unions to their employees, believing this will give them ideas they wouldn't have otherwise. 

The reality is that unions will aggressively promote themselves to your employees. So instead, you should think proactively You want people to be thinking about unionization while armed with the facts and not based on union rhetoric and promises. 

"Let's Talk!"

The preventive union organizing website shows employees their Company is pro-employee and wants to promote healthy conversations and feedback. The full-time union-focused website is telling employees, "Let's talk." 

By addressing rather than avoiding unions, it confirms that company leaders are confident about their Human Resources policies and commitment to employees, and fairness in the workplace. Employers afraid of mentioning unions send a signal there is something to be afraid of and equates to a lack of transparency. 

Unionfree.com professionals have a deep understanding of what engages and motivate employees and how you can stay or become union-free. One of the most powerful tools offered is the preventive union organizing website. So let's talk about your particular circumstances and the best strategy for keeping unions outside your business. It's important that you get your preventive union organizing website active as soon as possible. We'd love to be a resource for you to get started with a custom solution!

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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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