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. Unions are among today’s most active social media marketers, utilizing 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.
“Ambush” or expedited union representation elections are now the law – the process has been sped up considerably. Add to that the fact that employees can now sign union authorization cards online (and unions only need 30% of your employees to sign a card before they can file for an election with the NLRB), and you’ll come to the conclusion that you’ve got to reach your employees – and their families – where they are.
Generations, Unions and Social Media
According to the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of Americans use the Internet. Among “Generation Y,” or those between the ages of 18 and 29, the figure is even higher, at 97 percent. Even more significantly, by 2020, Generation Y will make up 50 percent of the workforce. And poised to reach them, with their robust social media marketing machine, is organized labor.
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.
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.
A Dedicated UnionProof Website for Managers & Supervisors: LaborLook.com
First things first: effective union avoidance strategies are a two-way street, and involve sincere actions on your part. When your workers understand that they’re a valued part of your business, both of your jobs become much easier.
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.
Employee Sites, Dark Sites and More: UnionFree.com
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” (meaning 95% complete, but not yet online) UnionFree.com site 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. The just-in-time nature of a dark UnionFree.com 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!
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.
Contact the UnionProof team today and ask how we can help protect your business and your employees! Or, get started now by downloading our free report, “Organized Labor’s Secret Online Weapons – and 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Company.”