When a union begins organizing your employees, your may find yourself in uncharted waters that can be very difficult to navigate. This can be true even if you’ve experienced union organizing activity in the past. As a business owner, this can leave you wondering where to begin. Researching who can provide the support you need to address the situation – without damaging your relationship with your employees – can be time-consuming and challenging.
The UnionProof team at Projections has assisted more than 10,000 companies in their efforts to stay union-free. We’ve also helped companies manage the union decertification process, and prevent future union campaigns. But our philosophy is different, in that we focus on communication, and on building a UnionProof culture. It’s not for everyone, but our clients know that while building positive employee relations takes time, knowledge, and effort, it’s the best way to remain union-free.
Because of this experience, our team often hears, “well, we’re pretty sure we want to go with what you’ve proposed… but if we didn’t, who else would you recommend we check out?” To help you make the best decision for your company and your situation, we’ve compiled a list of the best providers of union campaign resources. You’ll find that some focus on boots-on-the-ground employee persuasion, others take a just-the-facts approach. Your needs will differ from other companies (even in your own industry!), but at UnionProof, our ultimate mission is to help you maintain your direct connection with your employees.
Before we get to the list of providers, we’ve got a couple of items you’ll want to consider:
Consideration #1: A Positive vs. A Negative Approach
At UnionProof, we regularly get questions from clients about who the “best” providers of union avoidance resources are. But who is “best” depends on your company’s culture and relationship with employees.
If your culture is more authoritarian in nature, employees are more apt to respond to authority figures, armed with facts and historical evidence. These in-person strategies are delivered by providers of union campaign resources as what the US Department of Labor calls “persuaders.” Their role is to, within the limits of the law, convince employees that unionization is not in their best interests. This focus is most often negative in nature, pointing out the shortcomings of the union and effectively placing reasonable doubt in the minds of employees.
If your culture is more of a meritocracy, and more collaborative in nature, a negative focus can be overbearing. A more appropriate strategy for you would be providers of union campaign resources that take a positive approach to employee relations. This includes educating employees about unions with videos, websites, and eLearning. This approach should also take a positive look at educating and training your leaders.
Consideration #2: A Proactive Vs. A Reactive Strategy
The second thing to consider is your overall strategy – are you in a time-sensitive situation, in which a petition for election has been filed with the NLRB? Or are you in the early stages, with some time to address employee concerns?
Here is the biggest difference. In proactive situations, you may have more flexibility in your strategy, and time to decide if you want to go negative or positive. In a “reactive” situation, you’ve got to persuade employees – quickly – that unionization is likely to cause more issues in the workplace than it solves. If this is a new subject for your team members, you may need a persuader to go to the negative side of the spectrum to achieve your goal of remaining union-free.
A proactive strategy means that you’re taking the time to educate and inform both your leaders and employees on unionization. This gives you that flexibility to turn to the same methods you’ve used to educate your team in the past, even when matters become time-sensitive. Here’s an easy reference to see where your strategy fits on the spectrum for providers of union campaign resources:
Providers of Union Campaign Resources
In all that we do at UnionProof, transparency is key. We understand we may not be the best providers of union campaign resources for everyone. That’s why we are sharing the following companies and firms. While it’s by no means comprehensive, the list is intended to give examples of the typical employer options for union campaign assistance.
If you’re in a campaign and in need of an excellent labor and employment law firm, check out this comprehensive list.
Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
If you’ve never heard of SHRM, it’s a national membership organization that addresses all aspects of Human Resources management, including preventing unionization and responding to union activities. SHRM offers toolkits, legal compliance information, labor relations articles, and learning resources for HR professionals, i.e., video, eLearning, webinars, and even virtual training events. SHRM does not provide direct campaign resources, but membership can help support your efforts to remain union-free.
Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants
PSLC offers former senior-level union officials who assist organizations based on their experience inside the union. PSLC provides union avoidance training programs for management as well as “first response” training.
Labor Relations Institute (LRI)
The LRI is a labor relations firm managed by a labor attorney and has been in business for over 40 years. The company offers union avoidance services that include boots-on-the-ground persuaders who are often former union organizers or officials. As providers of union campaign resources, the firm also offers videos of testimonials of former union organizers, slide decks, and printed campaign resources, such as flyers, etc.
Adams Nash Haskell & Sheridan
With a focus on the healthcare industry, this firm offers “urgent services,” vulnerability assessment, corporate campaign help, card signing help, quickie election help, strike management, negotiations, crisis communication and union avoidance training.
Creative Solutions And Visions
CSAV360 is a labor relations and human resources company specializing in conflict resolution, employee engagement, communications training, diversity training, leadership training, engagement surveys, and labor conflicts.
Reliant Labor Consultants
Led by a former union organizer, this labor and employee relations consulting firm offers three types of services: avoiding a union, fighting a union, and preventive labor relations. The consultants offer supervisor and manager training programs, and services to improve employer-employee communication during a union campaign. Reliant also offers periodic audits to identify potential problem areas and any need for specialized training.
Headquartered in Troy Michigan, IRI Consultants specializes in the healthcare industry. Their team of consultants offers both proactive and reactive campaign strategies to help healthcare providers become and remain union-free. IRI’s Consultants range from former journalists to public relations to human resources.
Knowing Which Campaign Resources Are Right For You
There are many providers of union campaign resources, and the companies presented are just a sample of the different options. Making the right choice for your company can mean the difference between unionizing or staying union-free. The following resources can provide more information:
- Which is Best: Union or Non-Union?
- 8 Ways Employees Can Push Back During A Union Organizing Drive
- Why Inoculation of Employees Fails and UnionProofing Succeeds
- How to Prevent a Union Election From Happening Again
- 15 Reasons Why You Need a Labor Relations Professional
Did we miss any great campaign resources you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!