In a Wall Street Journal article on Wednesday June 22 it was announced that the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) has moved to help unions be more successful in organizing campaigns by shortening the time companies have to respond to the request for an election. When a union has been working for months behind the scenes to organize a company giving the company as little as 19 days to develop a defense provides the union with an unfair advantage.
Union membership in the private sector is down to 6.9% of the workforce. They have become irrelvant in today’s work environment and with today’s generations. And just like many others who cannot help themselves they turn to the government for help. Despite millions of dollars funneled into union friendly democratic politicians campaigns they were unable to get legislation passed in the Democrat controlled congress. But the fact that the NLRB is controlled by the seated party has provided Unions with a lever to try to institute change that favors unions. So the actions out of the NLRB that have resulted from Union pressure include:
- Reversing decisions made by the NLRB from as long as 10 years ago. Almost 800 cases are under review from previous years. (It is apparent they do not have enough to do from current activity.)
- Stopping Boeing Aircraft from opening a plant in South Carolina, citing it as an attempt to punish the union in Washington state, despite evidence to the contrary.
- Requiring companies to reveal if they are using consultants to provide them guidance in an anti-union campaign. As if that were an unfair advantage. An organization (the union) that specializes in running campaigns all the time is complaining about a company hiring temporary help to organize a campaign against a union. Explain how that is “fair”.
- Allowing the TSA workers to organize, despite the original intention to have them stay non-union workers.
- Suing companies based upon actions taken against employees for comments taken on Facebook pages or Twitter.
- And now shortening the time a company has to respond to a union organization campaign before an election is called. BTW, part of that requirement also has companies providing electronic files of employee names, addresses and email addresses in order to facilitate them contacting employees. No possibility of spam or harassment there at all.
Given how the deck is now really stacked against a company it is very important to have supervisors watch for signs of union activity. These include:
- Workers passing around cards
- Workers speaking together in groups and becoming quiet as a supervisor nears them
- People associating that don’t normally associate with each other
- Rumors of union cards
- Open talk about unions
- Strangers near the work place
- An increase in complaints
- An increase in interests in policies or employee handbooks
These are just some of the signs. If these start to occur management needs to be aware of it and counsel needs to be sought. Supervisors will have to be trained in the “no-nos” of dealing with this activity (TIPS). (This union flier actually gives a very good accounting of what supervisors cannont do.)
So be aware. Because the NLRB is not going to give you any help.