Q. Our company has operated union-free for many years. How can we best protect ourselves against future union-organizing activities?
A. The best way a company can protect itself against union-organizing efforts is by convincing its workers that they do not need a union.
This can be accomplished by adopting an open-door policy so workers can directly communicate with and express their opinions. Competitive wages and benefits, honest and effective negotiation between workers and management, and good working conditions are also important union deterrents.
Notwithstanding these efforts, even the most employee-friendly workplaces may become the subject of union-organizing efforts. Leading causes of union-organizing efforts include ineffective or unfair first-line or immediate supervisors, pay and benefits that employees perceive as uncompetitive and inadequate, or ineffective communication between employees and management.
The first line of defense against a union campaign is a uniform and strictly enforced no solicitation/no distribution rule. This rule should prevent the distribution of literature of any kind by any person during work time and in work areas.
Other preventive measures include securing all information related to the company’s employees, including personnel files, employee lists, payroll records, benefits records, supervisor logs, vacation logs and mailing lists.
Employers also should secure their computers by requiring passwords, prohibiting all individuals other than employees, customers and other authorized individuals from entering the company’s premises and carefully screening applicants to ensure hiring only the best workers.
If an organizing campaign is eventually instituted, employers must train their supervisors not to threaten or interrogate employees, promise additional benefits or spy on employees in an effort to discourage their union activities. Employers also may not discriminate against employees or applicants because of their union activities or affiliations.
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