Since the beginning of unions in this country, employers have been leery to discuss unions with their employees. The conventional wisdom has always been that if employers tell employees that there is something called a union out there, then employees may actually go form a union. Therefore, “if employees ain’t talking about it, employers ain’t talking about it” was the mantra.
It’s time for that antiquated thinking to end. The rules have changed. Labor laws are going to drastically change in the very near future. Employers who sincerely want to remain union-free must begin a dialogue immediately with their employees about the truthful aspects of unionization.
Start by educating your employees about the significance of signing a union authorization card. Employees need to know that signing a card is like signing a power of attorney and giving up your right to voice your opinion or deal with management about your issues. Once a card is signed, unions rarely – if ever – return a card if an employee later changes his mind. Furthermore, in its proposed form, EFCA language allows severe abuse in the process of obtaining signatures, and once obtained, whether legitimately or not, there is no turning back; you are a unionized company.
Employees also need to know that unions can fine employees, discipline employees, and tell employees whatever they want to hear to coerce them into signing cards. Furthermore, employees need to learn that once they go union, they are stuck with whatever work conditions are implemented – likely from an arbitrator and not in the employee’s best interest – for several years, and getting rid of a union is tremendously more difficult than just signing a card.
There are professional people called persuaders who literally make a career out of persuading employees that unions are not in their best interest. Hearing the truth about unionization from persuaders is much more effective than from hearing it from management. Besides, persuaders do this for a living and are much more effective than management in getting the company’s message across to the workers. If you are interested in a persuader, contact me and I can refer you to one.
If you decide to forgo a persuader at this time, at least make sure that the employees know the company’s position on unionization and the perils of signing an authorization card. But be careful when doing this because it is easy to say something that is against the National Labor Relations Act and then you will be defending an unfair labor practice charge at a minimum