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What Unions Today Don’t Want you to Know About Card Signing

Employers should understand that there are ways to communicate proactively with employees about unions – legally, and without fear.

An employer in Washington – a unionized company – began sharing the company’s position on card signing with new employees as a part of their orientation process. The meetings consisted of standard new employee information, commentary by management, and a video about union card signing. When the union challenged the video as a part of orientation, a local administrative law judge stated that it was unlawful, because he felt that the employer’s goal was to build up support for a decertification campaign. But the National Labor Relations Board reversed that ruling and upheld the employer’s right to communicate his position on card signing with new employees through the use of an impartial video presentation. The company was completely within its rights.

One word of caution: the comments made by managers during these orientation meetings were not as easy to defend as the video itself was. The truth is, once discussions begin, managers can say things that the company wishes they hadn’t, which is why educating leaders on the TIPS and FOE rules is critical.

TIPS Rule FOE Rule
However, the videotape that was shown to employees, “Little Card; Big Trouble,” was favorably upheld by the National Labor Relations Board:

In sum, the video ‘Little Card, Big Trouble’ merely sets forth the respondent’s privileged views about the potential consequences of signing an authorization card. It contains no threats against employees for signing an authorization card or any promises of benefits for not signing a card nor does it make reference to decertification. The respondent has as much right under Section 8(c) to convey this non-coercive message during a union’s certification year as it does during an organizational campaign.”

Union card signing report

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