Factors Conducive to Union Organizing Work Environment Factors Personal & Demographic Factors
Work Environment Factors Low wages Inadequate benefits Favoritism Lack of due process Internal inequities in pay structure Unsafe working conditions Poor communications with management
Work Environment Factors Increased responsibility without increase compensation Inadequate grievance mechanism Discriminatory practices Job insecurity Inconsistency in pay and promotion decisions Arbitrary & capricious management practices
Personal & Demographic Factors Sociocultural background White-collar families are generally anti-union. Blue-collar workers are more receptive. Race, sex, and religion Blacks are more prone to accept unions. Women are less prone to accept unions. Older workers are more prone to accept.
Personal & Demographic Factors Geographic location Southern and Western states are less likely (though this relationship has weaken in recent studies among blue- collar workers). Southern white-collar workers are still the least likely to join unions. Urban v. Rural Perception of unions Those who perceive unions as corrupt are less likely to join.
Personal & Demographic Factors Employee commitment to the job Employees who see themselves as long-term employees are more likely to accept a union. Industry in which the union is organizing Historically organized industries tend to encourage further organization. The exception maybe the auto industry
Personal & Demographic Factors Presence of right-to-work laws Personal desire to exert more influence on the job Particularly true in public sector organizing. Peer pressure If your buddies want a union, so do you. Vice versa
Union Organizing Tactics Establishing Organizational Targets Identifying potential targets (benefit/cost) Propensity of workers to support organizing. Anticipated employer reaction. Composition of the proposed BU [homogenous BUs are easy to organize than heterogeneous ones). Telephone surveys of potential BU.
Union Organizing Tactics Initial Contacts Intelligence gathering. Identifying real or potential dissatisfaction. Assessing current conditions. Formulating organizing agenda. Recruiting pro-union employees. Holding training sessions.
Union Organizing Tactics Obtaining “Critical Mass” ( generally 60-70% of the proposed BU). “Tuperware” parties. Mass meetings Telephone campaigns Pamphlets Responding to employer countermeasures Rebuttals to statements Legal actions. Obtaining employee signatures on authorization cards.
Authorization Card Campaign A Union Authorization Card is a card that authorizes the Union to negotiate with an employer over your wages, hours and other conditions of work. Signing a union authorization card does NOT obligate an employee to vote for the union in a certification election?
Authorization Card Campaign Even if you signed a union authorization card before or during the campaign, you are not obligated to vote for the union in the election
Authorization Card Campaign Showing of interest Must have a minimum of 30% if they are to file for certification. Unions generally look for 60-70%. Certification process stops dead for 12 months if they can’t get 30% within 30 days [in most cases]. Must have a simple majority (50%+1) if they are seeking recognition.
Neutrality Agreement An agreement stating that the employer will not campaign against the union while union agents solicit signed authorization cards. Often done to avoid a corporate campaign. A corporate campaign is a “top down” organizing approach in which the union attacks the employer’s public image, makes it difficult for the employer to conduct business, and then pressures top level management to succumb to union demands. Source: The Facts On Union Certification By Card Check (May 2006) Hospitality Labor Letter http://www.fisherphillips.com/showarticle.aspx?Ref=list&Type=1119&http://www.fisherphillips.com/showarticle.aspx?Ref=list&Type=1119& Cat=3387&Show=3835
Proactive Management Countermeasures (1) Provide market wage & benefits (2) Comprehensive benefit plans (3) Favorable employee/management relations (4) Safe working conditions (5) Job security measures Handbooks Just cause actions Procedural due process
Proactive Management Countermeasures (6) Due process and complaint handling (7) Communicate to employees how successful the firm is (emphasize nonunion work environment) (8) Monitor employee attitudes (surveys) (9) Attempt to screen out pro-union candidates during the hiring process (may violate NLRA)
Proactive Management Countermeasures (10) Benefit from the research on organizational structure. The following are not conducive to organizing: Small plants (<200) Limited access Rural Southern locations
Legal Reactive Countermeasures (1) Provide factual antiunion information Letters to employees Bulletin boards Factual information about unions in general. Factual information about the union in question. Factual information about local wages and cost of living. Displays Remind employees about dues & strikes.
Legal Reactive Countermeasures Remind employees that work rules will still be enforced Remind employees that even if they signed an authorization card they don’t have to vote “yes” for the union in the secret ballot. (2) Announce that you will use all legal means to fight the union.
Legal Reactive Countermeasures (3) Permit “No Vote” committees (be care to not violate § 8a(2)). (4) Hire consultants. (5) Train supervisory personnel. (6) Ban union organizers from company property. (7) Enforce the Republic Aviation rule
Republic Aviation Rule Employees may distribute union organizing materials for the union in nonwork areas during nonwork times. Break areas Cafeterias (except cafeteria workers) Parking lots Locker rooms Republic Aviation Corp, v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793 (1945).
Illegal Reactive Countermeasures (1) Threatening to discharge pro-union employees (2) Threatening to close or relocate the plant (3) Spying on pro-union employees (4) Making any employment decision based on whether an employee is pro-union or anti-union (5) Favoring another union over the one favored by employees.
Illegal Reactive Countermeasures (6) Stating that nothing will change even if the union is certified (7) Providing open support for anti-union employee organizations (8) Predicting strikes if the union is certified (9) Spreading knowingly false information (10) Violating the Peerless Plywood rule
Peerless Plywood Rule It is unlawful to hold any “captive audience” meetings within 24 hours of the representation election.
The Election Usually held within 30 days of the formal election hearing or consent election agreement. Secret ballot supervised by the NLRB. Election outcome is determined by a majority of the ballots cast.
Post Election Matters Challenges to ballots Dual status employees Seasonal employees Confidential employees Strikers who have been on an economic strike in excess of 12 months (more common in decertification).
Post Election Matters Challenges that the election was unfair Unfair labor practices precluded a fair election. Hiring a large number of anti-union employers just before the election. Threats of layoffs and plant closings (J.P. Stevens) Convincing evidence of a pattern of actions designed to undermine union support.
NLRB Remedies Conduct new elections Bargaining order (occurs less than 1.2% of all elections).
Some Election Statistics Unions win less than 50% of elections. Union success rate is greater in the public sector. Healthcare is the easiest private sector industry to organize. Best BUs to organize are low-wage, female, minorities, under 35-years of age and live in a small town
Decertification Same process as with certification (see §9). Management must stay completely out of the process. Time frame Minimum of 12 months since previous election. Maximum of 36 months with a valid contract bar.
Contract Bar A rival union cannot request certification, nor can a decertification petition be accepted by the NLRB while a valid CBA is in effect. Decertification petition may be filled no less than 60 days and no earlier than 90 days prior to the expiration of a valid CBA. No contract bar is permitted to extend more than 3 years by the NLRB. Incentive for a one-year duration for the first contract after certification.