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Franchise Owners and Managers: How to Handle Labor Protests

August 24, 2013 Leave a comment

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Confirmed 5 Member NLRB: Hungry Unions… Concern for Employers

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment
By Bob Carroll (Executive Vice President – Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants)

With a newly appointed 5 person NRLB the unions are celebrating a enormous victory.  They smell blood and for good reason.  It is no secret that this Democratic fueled Board has a pro-labor agenda.  One thing that is on the top of the radar is a rehash of the Quickie Election.  Certainly, the union’s still believe that a Quickie Election is the future path that this Board is willing to walk down.  This is and should be a big concern to business owners and leaders.  The Quickie Election would limit the number of days between a petition and election of a labor union.  Today, employers get a fair chance at communicating with workers.  While it may be true that a select few employers abuse this time and violate the National Labor Relations Act in an often uneducated attempt in sidestepping a union, the majority of businesses that go through a union campaign do the right thing.  They communicate facts about the unions and do what they can under the letter of the law to right any employee concerns or perception of issues with the employees.  The majority of businesses who undergo a union campaign have simply forgotten how to effectively communicate.  The majority understand that they would not be as successful as they are without the support of a solid workforce.  The majority do appreciate their employees.  These are the ones that will pay dearly both financially and emotionally with a Quickie Election rule.  The new Board spells potential big trouble for the majority of employers who are targeted by unions with dwindling membership levels and an urgent need to organize to refill their coffers.

It is expected that Quickie Elections will happen and it will probably happen sooner than later.  The best thing employers can do now is to be proactive.   Do a self study and come to grips with a little bit of reality.

  • Have you lost your ability to communicate effectively workforce?
  • Do you really know and understand your employees?
  • Do you understand how unions organize?
  • Do you understand your employees concerns about the workplace?
  • Have you done all you can do to bridge any gaps between your management teams and the rank and file workers?
  • Have you done all you can do to “union-proof” your company?

No company is “union proof”.  But you can be proactive and limit the “issues” that unions will take and twist in many directions until they build an emotional connection with your employees.  Your best bet is to take the bullets out of the union’s guns by practicing positive employee relations now.  Really connect with your workers.  Let them know you appreciate them.  Let them understand the direction your organization is going and their role in the future of the company.  Once you have an established connection with the workers, the union’s may very well still come knocking on your front door but it will be your employees telling the unions that they are not needed.  This is proactive union avoidance.