The internet has changed work and communication systems for employees. Employees can now access a union organizing campaign website on the computer or smartphone 24/7. They can also share information on social media, research information online, and communicate with friends, coworkers, and union representatives at will. As an employer, once a union campaign starts, you’re hugely challenged with educating employees and ensuring they know the truth about the union at any point in time during the campaign.
When the union starts an organizing campaign, it’s going to be 24/7, internet-based, aggressive, and professional. Each union has a lot of experience and resources, and you must offer a response with the same vigor. The ideal communication tool is a dedicated employee website that is also a union campaign website.
Starting From Behind
If you’re like most employers, you’ll wait until the union comes knocking before going live with a union campaign website. Then there is panic because you’re going to discover the union had a website up to solicit employees before the union organizing campaign even started. Your employees have been reading all about the great things the union will do for them and their family members, and how unfair your company policies and managers are to employees.
In other words, you start from behind. You must quickly get a union campaign website up that shares the employer’s point of view and enables efficient communication with employees. The cheapest and quickest way to accomplish this is to buy a ready-made website (aka off-the-shelf or pre-produced) built by specialists who have in-depth knowledge of what to include in union campaign websites to have the greatest impact on employees.
Benefits of a Ready-Made Union Organizing Campaign Website
Speed in getting the website up and live is critical, making the off-the-shelf website ideal. There is an important point to keep in mind, though. The off-the-shelf website is better called ready-made because it fits the circumstances and is not generic across unions.
Tiffany Jackson, Multimedia Architect at Projections (includes unionfree.com and unionproof.com brands), explains, “We build and annually update websites for 10+ of the major international unions. We are ready to take the union-specific website live within an hour. If a client needs a union campaign website with a customized webpage for a local or smaller union, it can be created within 24-48 hours. We can speedily complete opposition research.”
So the pre-produced union website fits the particular circumstances of your election campaign, with no or minimal customization. In addition to rapid deployment of the union campaign website, the benefits of the pre-produced website include:
- Union content is good for one year. Employers can utilize the website during an active campaign or as an educational and preventive communication tool that’s always on and available to employees
- Logical, factual and up-to-date
- Stat-based content and graphics tell the irrefutable facts about the union
- The ability to customize as much or as little as desired
- Can share directly with employees, so accessible anywhere there is internet access
- Can reach in-house and remote employees and their family members
- Shares consistent messaging that meets legal requirements to help employers avoid charges of Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs)
- Videos persuasively present the facts about the union
- Available in English and Spanish (and other languages)
- Addresses employees concerns immediately
What Does an “Off the Shelf” Website Include?
The union-specific ready-made website includes everything you need to communicate the facts about the union.
- Union’s history of mergers
- Union’s history of corruption
- Links to current news articles
- Union’s membership stats and election records
- Where the union gets its members
- What it means to be a member living under a union’s constitution
- Analysis of the union’s financial record (LM-2 report), breakdown of dues spending, salaries of union leaders, etc.
- Bargaining style
- Risks of collective bargaining
- Union’s strike history
- What employees risk by going on strike
- Strike calculator to figure money lost during a strike and how long it would take to earn it back
Jondella Flanigan, Director of Sales and Business Development at Projections, says, “We developed the unionfree.com union-specific ready-made website to fully counter the promises made by the union. Ready-to-go union avoidance resources are crucial to providing employees factual information on unions in a logical and timely manner.”
What Can I Customize on the Ready-Made Website?
“Off-the-shelf websites are ideal for companies with smaller bargaining units who are short on time but looking to educate their employees about a specific union and the perils of unionization,” says Jackson. If you have a larger bargaining unit, then some customization can strengthen employee engagement and the employer’s voice.
In summary, you have three options. You can purchase:
- A union-specific ready-made website
- A union-specific ready-made website with custom videos or webpages added
- A fully custom-created “dark website“
A dark website is 95 percent complete. It can be shelved until the union is known, and then specific union information is dropped in right before going live when a union campaign starts. Some employers keep the dark website live all the time and update it for the specific union when the actual organizing effort gets underway.
“Some clients ask unionproof.com to develop an employee dark website completely from scratch. Other clients decide to buy the union-specific ready-made website and add information and webpages,” says Chris Craddock, President of Projections, adding, “We bring our deep knowledge and expertise on unions to the union campaign website customizing process because this is one of the most important and influential tools the employer has to fight against unionization.”
Customization can include some or all of the following website options:
- Custom domain name
- Company logo and colors
- Mimicking of branding
- Welcome and introduction message explaining “why union-free” and “why vote no”
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpage
- Employee question and employer answer webpage
- Updates on the latest campaign-related developments
- Videos of interviews with anti-union employees, company managers, local community leaders, people who have dealt with the union in other companies, etc.
- Videos showing union activities or explaining the specific union’s methods and strategies in more depth
- Live employer video streaming sessions
- Local union-specific webpage
- Additional dues calculator and investment calculator
- Additional content, i.e., company-specific information on benefits, reasons to stay union-free, etc.
Reinforcing the Message
One strategy to minimize costs is to add a 25th-hour video to the union-specific website to emphasize the real story on the union. It can summarize everything the employees heard before and during the union organizing campaign.
The video reinforces the information employees need to vote “no” to unionize and puts everything into perspective. The easier you make it for employees to understand the truth and their options, the more effective the website.
It’s also important today to integrate social media via website links so employees can view social media videos and posts explaining everything from union events to employee rights. You can also add tailored posts and videos of company leaders addressing employees.
Using a variety of social media platforms, you can differentiate the content to suit the users while driving visitors to the union campaign website. Using social media also enables reaching into employee homes and educating family members.
The Cost of Staying Union-Free
At unionfree.com, our ultimate goal is to help employers access the resources they need to keep the unions out. Not all companies can afford to purchase a fully customized dark website (a pre-produced site that goes live before or during a campaign).
So we developed an inexpensive option to build a customized website from scratch. The least expensive way to launch a union campaign website is to purchase the off-the-shelf union-specific website. At $2,495, it is priced at 10 percent of the full custom site (as of March 2020 and subject to change).
There is an additional charge for each custom element added, like a dues calculator or additional webpage. “Clients have added webpages on their company benefits, rumors vs. facts, “what’s new” information, and so on,” explains Projection’s Craddock.
It costs more for an interactive webpage or to add unique elements you might have in mind. There is also an additional charge for regular union campaign website updates that keep your site fresh and engaging.
A customized union campaign website can cost anywhere from $10,000 to more than $50,000. It’s up to you to decide what fits your needs within your budget. Projections, under its brand Union Proof, can work closely with you to get you maximum results at the most affordable price. We purposely developed a wide price range schedule for off-the-shelf to customized websites so that every employer of every size can afford a union campaign website.
Ready, Set, Launch
There are many options as to the launch process. For example:
- Purchase a union-specific ready-made website, and launch within an hour
- A union-specific ready-made website, add videos or other custom webpages and launch within 24-48 hours
- Purchase a customized dark website that is 95 percent complete; drop in union specific information and go live within 24 hours of the start of the union campaign
Projections, under its brands unionproof.com and unionfree.com, can provide all necessary services and products for resisting the union. They include the off-the-shelf website, customized dark website, video production, launch toolkit, and access to professional resources. Union campaign websites are only effective when employees visit them, so you must plan on implementing a wide-reaching and ongoing employee engagement program.
Projections can help with that process, too, through its Launch and Engagement Toolkit that has everything you need to let employees know the website is available as a great information source and to keep the website in the minds of employees. The Toolkit offers a variety of options, ranging from wallet cards to digital signage to video postcards that can be placed on any landing page with links directly to the union campaign website.
Unionfree.com offers tracking data also, so you know whether your engagement effort is working. The law doesn’t allow tracking employees by name, but there are plenty of other campaign website metrics available, including total website traffic, top webpages visited, bounce rate, and time spent on each webpage. You’ll use the metrics to keep your employee engagement effort on track throughout the campaign.
One of the reasons Projections also has the A Better Leader brand, in addition to Union Proof and Union Free, is that you need leaders who are well-trained on employer rights and positive employee communication behaviors. One slip-up can lead to an expensive Unfair Labor Practice. So part of your campaign management plan should be executive, manager, and supervisor training on employee engagement and communication.
Together is Better
Union organizing campaigns move quickly and can get very contentious. Utilizing the services of professional website developers with knowledge of union practices and access to information resources is a major strategy in staying union-free. The cost of a website is minimal compared to the cost of becoming a unionized workplace.
If your workplace is in need of a union organizing campaign website, look no further. We’d love to help you get started and become a union-free workplace.