Volunteer Organizing Committee – Defined
Purpose of the VOC
The specific purpose of a VOC depends in part on whether the workplace is already unionized or not. For an open shop, the VOC might mobilize to add new union members or to increase participation among the current members. In a non-union workplace, a VOC is typically formed to focus employee energy on moving toward union certification. A VOC might also be formed in preparation for contract negotiations or to mobilize around a key issue.
What the VOC Does in Non-Union Workplace
- Details about the company’s structure, ownership, services, policies and operations
- Layout of the workplace
- Information about the employees to be organized
- Positions and pay rates
- Issues employees are concerned about
- Identity of any law firm or consultant that represents the employer
- Questionable activities by supervisors that relate to the organizing campaign
Collection of union authorization cards through the VOC is the most effective method. Members start with solicitation of immediate co-workers and then spread out to more remote employees as the campaign toward unionization progresses.
Reasons Employers Should Care About a VOC
Formation of a VOC indicates that at least a faction of the workforce wishes to join a union. More importantly, a VOC can indicate that employees have problems that are not being solved or issues that are not being addressed.
Proactive Steps Employers Can Take
- Assess employee satisfaction levels, ideally through an objective workplace audit. Listen to employee feedback, and maintain open lines of communication.
- Implement policies that prevent third party involvement in your workplace, including policies that address visitors at work, distribution of literature and solicitation of fellow employees. Be sure to consult your legal counsel and see these are in place before any organizing activity.
- Train management on labor law and unions to help supervisors avoid making mistakes or violating labor laws on management conduct.