You have been hired by XYZ as a consultant. They are currently facing a union organizing campaign. You have been asked to write a briefing memo for senior management. Your memo must address:
a. What are the basic differences, from the employer’s viewpoint, in operating in a union-free environment vs. a unionized environment?
b. What are management representatives permitted to say and do during the campaign? What, if any, actions or statements are prohibited?
Union Organizing Campaign Memo
To: Company manager XYZ
From: Company consultant
Date: September 25, 2015
Subject: Union organizing campaign memo
Several factors entail a company operation under a union and in a union free environment. The two environments operations differ in a number of ways, from the employers’ point of view. The management representatives are allowed to say a number of things while in other circumstances the representatives may not be allowed to say certain things but are also free to do others concerning union campaigns.
Differences between operating in a union-free and unionized environment
Operating in both unionized and union-free environments have merits and demerits to the employer and the employees. When operating in a unionized environment, the job security of an employee is guaranteed because of the contract as Lichtenstein (2013) demonstrates. It is also believed that in a non-unionized environment, the employer can dismiss an employee at any time because there are no long procedures to be followed in dismissal. However, the employees are essential to ensuring the success of an organization and any management seeks to establish a good long-term relationship with employees, for the success of the business rather than the intentions of dismissing them. The management acknowledges that long-serving employees have enough experience about a company business and play a very central role in an organization as compared to new ones; nevertheless, no employee should be scared of dismissal whether new or long serving because they are all equally important.
In a unionized environment, the employees’ promotion is based on how senior they are in the organization. However, in a non-unionized environment any employee can benefit from the promotion depending on their ability or potential to perform certain tasks. When promotions are done on merit, it is easy for talented employees to be identified, and assigned responsibilities that help them and the company grow. The employees’ unions may prove effective and better placed to bargain for promotions, but the chances for promotions may arise at any time when an organization deems it necessary. A non-unionized environment may make it possible for employees to benefit from such promotional opportunities, unlike a unionized environment where a contract may limit the promotions to a time where it is legally stated. Embracing skills rather than seniority in promotions may give commendable results for an organization success and sustainability in the competitive business environment.
When it comes to salaries, the unions are tasked with bargaining for employees unionized. The process of bargaining in some instances, may involve a number of difficulties, especially where the employer cannot sustain the demands of the union. This may lead to court processes that drag the business behind. During this time, employees may miss a number of opportunities because of a standoff. On the other hand, in a union free environment the employees can directly engage the employer or the business owner to review the benefits such as wages. High performing employees are likely to secure increases in benefits packages.
Unions charge employees fees for representing them in collective bargaining. Even those employees that may opt not to join such unions are charged the fees. On the other hand, a non-unionized environment may relieve the employees of having to pay such fees, which increases the amount of income they receive in terms of wages and salaries. A collective bargaining effort by the union may succeed but the amount received may not be as significant, because of the union deductions required.
What the management representatives may say or do
According to Appelbaum (2013), management representatives are supposed to allow union representatives solicit for memberships and signatures to join a union if they do not interfere with the activities of the workplace. The management should stop any non-union representatives from entering the workplace for the union campaigns. It is the work of the management to ensure non-employees are not involved in the campaign. The management representatives are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the campaigns are not conducted during working hours, which would interfere with the normal activities of the organization. It is within the role of management representatives to engage employees in talks and inform them of the possible consequences of joining a union. The representatives are also allowed to persuade the employees against joining a union without threatening or coercing them. The representatives are allowed to defend their opinion against a union, the policies and request employees not to join unions based on arguments that are valid.
What the management representatives may not do
The management has no right to forbid workers from soliciting their colleagues to join the union during the employees’ free time or while not working. The management is not allowed by law to forbid the workers from putting on union badges or buttons without a good business reason to do so. The management cannot hinder the union from accessing employees’ details such as the names and the contact address. As Fudge and Tucker (2015) explain, management representatives are not under any circumstances allowed to use one employee or a number of employees to campaign against the efforts of a union. It is a violation of the law if the management representatives decide to spy other employees, try any form of bribe or blackmail in a bid to campaign against the workers joining a union. Any violation of the above aspects may lead to litigation and other fines for the organization. If the management feels aggrieved by any of the union actions, it will opt to use a legal platform through the XYZ lawyer.
Appelbaum, E. (2013). The impact of new forms of work organization on workers”. Work and Employment in the High-Performance Workplace, 120.
Fudge, J., & Tucker, E. (2015). Labour before the law: The regulation of workers’ collective action in Canada, 1900-1948. University of Toronto Press.
Lichtenstein, N. (2013). State of the Union: A Century of American Labor: A Century of American Labor. Princeton University Press.