7 Books All Labor Relations Pros Should Read

A long winter is the perfect time to catch up on some management reading. Here are seven books that cover the A-to-Z of unionization, developing positive labor relations and leading change. One strategy for staying union-free is staying informed.

1.”Unions Are Not Inevitable!: A Guide to Positive Employee Relations

Author Lloyd M. Field offers practical approaches to developing and maintaining positive labor relations, a key factor in staying union-free. He discusses steps for changing a company culture into one that is employee-centered and setting up a Positive Employee Relations program.

2. “Union Proof

Understanding the full range of tactics that union representatives use to strong-arm employees is key to union avoidance. Peter J. Bergeron addresses everything from early whispers to union elections, how employers can recognize the signs of unionization, and how to develop an open communication system between management and employees.

3. “Union-Free America: Workers and Antiunion Culture

The best offense, the saying goes, is a good defense. Lawrence Richards made a definitive contribution to an understanding of why workers still resist unions to this day. He traces the union movement from the early days when people had a positive view to the current times of declining membership. There are important clues in history as to the best strategies to remain union-free.

4. “Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All

This is not a book on unions, but it is a book on developing effective leadership listening skills. Bernard T. Ferrari discusses how to become an active listener and understand communication in context. Being able to listen to what employees are really saying is key to addressing employee concerns long before they turn to unions.

5. “How a Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America

Unions may be using social media as a recruitment tool, but employers can also use this powerful tool for union avoidance. Paul Levy discusses how he used social media at Beth Israel hospital to keep the facility union-free.

6. “Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance

Positive leadership can lead to extraordinary effectiveness and performance in an organization. The best way to defend against the negative influence of unions is to develop positive leadership skills. Author Kim Cameron’s book was chosen as one of Amazon editor’s picks for 2015 Best Books of the Year.

7. “Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author

The one constant today in the business environment is change. The book by author John Kotter offers ideas for successfully leading an organization through a transformation process.

About the author