Keeping your workplace union-free should be one of your highest priorities in 2017. Even though developing a strategy to counter union organizing activities can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking, it is still preferable to allowing a labor union to infiltrate your workplace. As IRI Consultants explains, once a workplace is unionized, management is no longer able to make decisions unilaterally. Hiring practices, employee compensation, staffing levels and work rules all become part of the collective bargaining agreement, and management is unable to make changes without input from the union. Obviously, dealing with this much red tape is a headache for management and expensive for the business. However, with the right strategy in place, you can use 2017 to work toward your union-proof culture.
Here are four tips to build a union-proof workplace in 2017:
1. Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability assessment allows you to determine weaknesses in your organization. Doing this will allow you to make improvements which, hopefully, will make your employees less susceptible to union organization. According to Workforce.com, a vulnerability assessment can be anything from looking at existing HR metrics to an overall HR/labor relations assessment. Weaknesses in your organization can be anything from communications issues and wage and benefit issues to supervisory issues. It pays to conduct regular assessments before any organizing activity occurs. A reactive assessment can open the company up to unfair labor practice charges, but not if you’ve been doing them regularly.
2. Address Weaknesses
Once you’ve completed a vulnerability assessment and identified weaknesses within your organization, do your best to address as many of these issues as possible. Even though some of these issues might not seem like a big deal to you, they are likely a very big deal to your employees. If you discover supervisory issues in your organization, you will need to better train your supervisors. The UnionProof team recommends training your supervisors in positive leadership techniques. To address wage and benefit issues, you may want to conduct a compensation survey. Ensure you’re offering a competitive compensation package, and that you use excellent communiation to let your employees know.
Many union organizing campaigns are successful because workers feel like they have no voice in their organization. According to HR Daily Advisor, employees who feel like they have a voice in decision-making are less susceptible to union organization. It’s important to have (and communicate) an open-door policy, so your employees feel they can raise issues and concerns without fear of retaliation. Management should put an interactive communication system in place. Also, the organization should adopt a clear alternative dispute resolution process. Employees need have a method to file a complaint and raise issues of concern. However, communication is two-way street. Management must explain the purpose for unpopular decisions. Employees must understand why these decisions are necessary and important. Ultimately, management must take responsibility for both good and bad decisions.
4. Be Transparent
Let your employees know how you feel about unions and their impact on the business. HR Daily Advisor recommends starting this at the beginning of your relationship with employees. You can include your union-free philosophy with your orientation materials and in your employee handbook. By explaining the reasons behind your union-free operating philosophy, you can help employees understand union tactics. Red State recommends warning your employees about “union-card signing tactics.” Don’t fear mentioning unions to your employees; it’s better to ensure your position and your union proof culture are clear and visible.