If you thought unions have gone the way of the dinosaurs don’t look now but here they come. They have been in the news in the US quite a bit the last month or so. First the UAW dealing with the auto companies. Then the writers in Hollywood. And now home-based child care workers. Yes, that is right HOME-BASED child care workers. In New York City these workers are joining the powerful New York City chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. They are looking for more money and, in particular, health benefits and retirement benefits.
An article on MSNBC, entitled Writers a rarity- A union with power argues that the writers may be one of the most powerful unions in the country because they deal in intellectual capital. And the home-based child care workers may have a similar claim. The trend seems to be less power for unions that have workers that make things and more power for unions that have workers that work on brain power.
With the prospect of a Democratic administration starting in 2009 unions stand to gain even more power. Legislation is already floating that will take away secret ballot elections, opening up the prospect of the intimidation factor in union elections. Changes in the make up of the NLRB may also bring about more union friendly decisions. And just a Congress and Administration controlled by the labor friendly Democratic party bodes well for union friendly legislation.
So hold on to your HR hat (the one of many you wear) and be alert for union activity. Get those supervisors trained now.