The filing of a union petition can be a disaster for your business. For the average company, unionization can automatically cause a 21.5 percent increase in direct and indirect labor costs. Employers often lose operational flexibility, direct communication with their employees, and risk disruption of services and/or production. In addition, your net asset value of your enterprise can go down by as much as 20%.
It's in your best interests to know how to minimize union organizing activity at your facility. From over 33 years of "hands-on" experience in consulting to executive management, we have found that companies can reduce the risk of unionization by over 80%, if they follow the following 5 steps.
One of the best ways to prevent unionization is through Employee Relations Audits conducted by directly communicating with your employees through small groups facilitated by an experienced outside communication specialist. Hiring a third party to administer these assessments is critical because it is the only way to ensure that you will actually get important and unfiltered information from your employees. In fact, we have proven from over 3 decades of conducting employee relations audits with a myriad of employers that, we obtain much more valuable information, such as, group dynamics, body language, emotion, unknown problems, union vulnerability, and potential solutions to the issues that cannot be gathered through a traditional pencil and paper opinion survey. By becoming aware of your employees true perceptions and the positive and negative aspects of their work environment, employers have a platform to address their employees concerns and avoid the need of an unnecessary and expensive labor union.
Less than 1 out of 10 employees in the United States are unionized. This means that most workers in our country have very little knowledge of labor unions. This lack of information makes employees easy prey to an experienced union organizer. By educating your employees about the legal ramifications of signing a union authorization card/petition and the negative consequences of joining a union, will make them much less likely to be deceived by a union representative.
One of your best first line defenses to preventing union organizing activity is to have a well trained and knowledgeable management team. If your management team doesn't have the skill set to quickly identify and react to the onset of potential union activity, it may be too late to stop a union petition. Approximately 80% of the time, the receiving of a National Labor Relations Board petition is the first time employers find out they had union activity. This surprise can be avoided by training all levels of management with the latest in practical tools on how to identify and prevent union activity and how to effectively and legally communicate with your employees.
In order to maintain your union-free status, it is critical that management has the skills to properly interview and weed out unqualified applicants, which are more prone to union activity. More importantly, improper selection can also lead to the hiring of unqualified union "SALTS". "SALTS" are paid union organizers who apply for jobs at a non-union facility with the intention of using their employment status to organize your employees from within. While it is illegal to discriminate against "SALTS", management can, through comprehensive and objective interview and selection skills, minimize the hiring of unqualified employees and unqualified "SALTS".
One of the most overlooked ways on how to prevent union card signing and petitions is to provide labor education during new hire orientation. Unions often target new hires to sign union authorization cards and petitions because they are more susceptible to being pressured into signing. We have found that new hires that are educated with the right amount of information about union authorization cards/petitions and the employer's union-free philosophy are far less likely to sign a union card or petition and are more likely to alert management when there is union activity.
With so many minefields in your business landscape, don't let the filing of a union petition bring your company down. Take these 5 simple steps and make your organization virtually bulletproof by removing it as a union organizing target.
For more information on how to minimize the risk of unionization at your company, contact Labor Relations Services toll free at 1-877-892-1962, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.