Remaining Union Free

Updated: June 04, 2010

Here are some simple questions to ask your HR Leadership team:

Has your organization reviewed the job descriptions of your supervisors?

Are your supervisors spending the required amount of time in the role of managing people, or has that been diluted due to downsizing and reassignment of job duties? The organization could stand to lose their most critical group of employees for fending off the unions - and instead end up with them on the voting ticket. You need the supervisors to be management's eyes, ears and communication vehicles to the hourly workforce. They need to be trained; they need to be given tools to use to communicate effectively. They need to know what to look for, listen for, and report what they hear - immediately. Yes, they need to be careful how they interact and remain within the regulations - but most feel afraid to say or do anything, and there is much that they can do to help with maintaining a non-represented workforce.

Do you have signs posted on all premises and in the parking lots stating "No Solicitation AND No Distribution"? (One is not enough; your signage needs to say both)

A firm position on No Solicitation and No Distribution has to be maintained, or the door is open for the Union to solicit and distribute. Every chance to communicate with employees and listen to their concerns and respond to them has to be priority number one for your supervisors, managers, directors and your executive management team. A top management initiative with training for your first line supervisors and managers on how to supervise, communicate and recruiting strategies have to be reviewed.

What should your HR staff and Trainers watch for during Orientation and New Hire Training?

If a "Salt" (an employee whose main objective is to get a foot in the door for a union) slips through your recruitment process - the next place to watch for their true self to shine through is during Orientation and New Hire Training. They may make comments about the benefits offered, or the rate of pay, or ask questions about seniority and promotions. These are not always red flags of a Salt, but in my 14 years in HR, more often than not, these questions or comments do not originate from an individual who is truly there as a new hire with no agenda. This means you also need to be educating your Training Department staff and the Benefits person who communicates with the new hires on what to watch and listen for during this all important training period. NLRB has regulations against retaliation against an organizer, so it is up to those involved in the orientation and training to watch for indicators and alert HR management.

Do you allow your employees to sell for their children's school sales or extracurricular activities - cookies, popcorn, calendars, candy, holiday wrapping paper, etc.? Do you allow your employees to ask employees to buy beauty products, plastic containers, jewelry, or other home party catalog items?

In essence when you allow this, you are allowing Solicitation AND Distribution… and with these practices you now are subject to allowing union organizers to solicit your employees and distribute union materials on your property. It sounds very mean-hearted to not allow your employees to sell for their children's scout troops - but you cannot afford the fallout from allowing this practice to continue.

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