So, what happens if a union shows up at your door? What can you do, what can you say? How did we get here, where do we go from here? All of these questions and many more go through an employer’s mind as they navigate the minefield of a union campaign, organization, and bargaining the contract.
Why do employees feel they need to join a union? Unions fight for workers’ rights, that’s their mantra. Historically, unions are most successful when employees feel their leadership just simply does not care about them. They feel their working conditions are unsafe and no one is listening to them. Unions promote themselves as the watchdog for workers’ rights, unsafe work environments, and better wages, and joining them will result in a better workplace and higher wages. Employees will turn to a union when they feel that their concerns have not been addressed,
If your strategy is to not have represented employees, you may feel blindsided when a union petition shows up at our door. So, be prepared so it doesn’t happen. Having a voice is empowering to employees, listen to their concerns and act when there is a problem or explain to them why you can’t. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable coming to leadership and do not opt to reach out to a union when no one is listening. Ensure your managers are trained and know how to treat employees properly. Bargaining a union contract is not cheap or easy and it takes a long time. Managing this process is very grueling for those involved and impact operation. Coming back together after the labor event is not always comfortable or fixable. The labor event often ensues behavior that a normal employee would not display that causes animosity and damages relationships that is sometimes beyond repair. A union campaign can completely change the company culture and relationships involved. The best way to prepare the relationship is not to have to deal with the labor event at all. Be prepared and know the law, this is the best defense if a union campaign comes upon you.