UnionProof professionals are experts in union avoidance and union decertification if the employer already has a unionized workforce. One of the most important advice they offer employers is to establish a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQs) web page as an element of a union campaign website. It’s a critical employee engagement tool that delivers value to unionized and non-union businesses. The FAQs encourage employees to get the facts concerning unions and to share thoughts they’re uncomfortable communicating face-to-face with employers. In contrast, employers are given opportunities to engage employees through feedback.
Window into Employee Thoughts
It’s crucial to keep an ongoing dialogue going with employees about unions before, during, and after an election (win or lose). During a union campaign, it can make the difference in staying union-free versus unionizing. When employees quit talking to managers and supervisors, unions gain the upper hand in many ways. They can tell lies, make promises they can’t keep and plant rumors designed to widen the gap between employees and your organization’s leaders.
Unfortunately, managers talking to employees about the union is a risky path that frequently leads to charges of unfair labor practices. Asking employees questions about the union is interpreted as trying to intimidate the employee or interfere with employee rights per the NLRA (Section 7 & 8 (a)(1)).
You can answer questions posed by employees as long as you adhere to legal requirements. A FAQ web page is an ideal forum for answering employee questions about the union and company policies. You can have a labor specialist review management’s answer before posting a response. It’s a key strategy for avoiding the rocky path of what an employer can say and not say during a union campaign. However, the FAQ page on a union campaign website delivers a host of other advantages.
Employee Engagement in Contentious Times
Getting employees to discuss what unions are telling them is vital to ensure they are told the truth. Since you can’t walk up to an employee and ask them what the union has promised, the only other alternative is to present information and answer their questions. We wrote a while back about a case in which an employer told the truth and was found in violation of the F.O.E. rules while following the T.I.P.S rules The T.I.P.S and F.O.E. rules address the appropriate management communication during a union campaign.
Some of the risks of giving illegal answers are reduced by having a FAQ page. You can post some common questions and answers about unions to set the stage and allow employees to ask questions anonymously. Emphasis is placed on keeping employees anonymous. Your labor relations specialist and managers can review the question and prepare a response that is transparent, truthful, and legal. The question and answer can be shared on the webpage while faithfully protecting the employee’s anonymity.
FAQ Page Benefits
- This is a way to have appropriate communication with employees, but you get so many more benefits by maintaining a FAQ page for employees.
- It’s a powerful employee engagement tool because it encourages two-way communication between employees and management.
- It empowers employees by giving them a voice.
- It gives the employer valuable insights into employee needs, challenges, and concerns.
- This can lead to insights into the union’s strategy based on the type of questions asked. i.e., “Is the union representative allowed to text me while I am at work?”
- It keeps employees coming back to management and not just the union representatives, through their anonymous questions.
- It gives the employer a chance to offer feedback to employees.
- This offers a legal venue for communicating with employees with minimal risk of violating the NLRA, as long as labor experts review the answers.
- It enables giving thoughtful, legal responses rather than emotional on-the-spot answers that frequently lead to charges of unfair labor practices (ULPs).
- It helps employees get answers to specific questions when they feel like they don’t have time to navigate multiple web pages on a website or videos to find the information they want.
- This enables addressing rumors and lies with facts.
- It generates ideas for topics that can be added to the company newsletter, social media, the union-free website, or other forms of communication. The questions signal a need for deeper answers.
- Supports management transparency, important all the time, but especially so during a union organizing campaign.
- It enables the inclusion of links in the responses that lead to additional employee resources, like videos that show specific union actions and deliver specific union information. An employee can’t say, “This union doesn’t act like this. Management is just trying to scare us.”
- It promotes trust between employees and employers.
The FAQ page aims to help employees make an informed decision about unions and not an emotional one based on misconceptions. The following are a few tips for ensuring the FAQ website is as effective as possible.
Start with common questions
Get started by posting some common questions about unions with the answers, while offering employees the opportunity to ask their own. Here’s a couple of examples of common questions:
- Q: Do unions let members vote on how union dues are spent?
A: The constitution of most unions don’t typically allow union members to determine the dues rate or how dues are spent. This means your dues may be spent to support groups or causes you do not agree with.
- Q: Why shouldn’t we vote for a union and get the pay increases the representative promised?
A: The union cannot promise pay increases. We have a competitive compensation schedule and can transparently provide the industry and competitor comparisons, so you have the facts. Always get the facts, and don’t believe what you hear without investigating the truth.
Encourage employees to ask questions about more than your company
People get wound up in the emotions of a union campaign, encouraged by union representatives. They lose sight of the big picture. Encourage your employees to ask questions about the unions in the area, union activity in the industry, union activity at your competitors, strikes the union has led in the past, and so on. By knowing the truth about union activities, they may be less inclined to vote for unionization.
Don’t wait until there’s a problem
Always maintain a union-free website with a FAQ webpage. Whether or not there has been specific union activity, is a proactive strategy to keep the union out. The FAQ page can help you avoid getting caught by surprise as to employee thought processes and concerns.
Build Transparency and Trust
UnionProof’s Web Designer and Writer Tiffany Jackson says, “The UnionProof “Ask a Question” website feature enables employers to respond to any rumors and misconceptions the union is spreading.” What better way to build trust between employees and management than by ensuring employees are told the truth?
UnionProof offers everything an employer needs to protect the company from union organizing. It’s always better to prevent a union organizing campaign than it is to respond to one. While a union-focused dark website can be kept dark until a union campaign starts, a much better approach is to always keep the website live as a preventive union organizing website and add a FAQ webpage to strengthen transparency. If a union does start an organizing campaign, both the website and the FAQ page can be quickly updated.
If you are wondering how to get started, talk to the specialists at UnionProof, partners of Projections and A Better Leader. They offer union avoidance tools, leadership training, website development, union organizing campaign materials, employee engagement tools, video development, and so much more.