Tips in Avoiding Unionization in Your Business

Employees in a particular industry or company often see unions as an effective way to come together and achieve certain goals. Union organization can combat a negative workplace environment especially if employees are facing abusive or hostile work conditions, which were fairly common sometime in the past. However, unions can also inflict significant damage on a company or industry, although some of them occasionally provide real value to their members. If you are a business owner and you are concerned employees are considering unionization, what can you to do reduce the chances organization will occur?

First, know that you play a role in your employee's desire to unionize. To keep your employees satisfied with their situation, you need to treat them well and ensure that they are happy with their work environment. In most cases, employees that are happy in their work will not consider unionizing, especially if outside forces do not become a factor.

However, you need to tread carefully if union talk has begun. Understand there are legal limitations governing what you can and cannot do to prevent a union. To help employers remember what is off-limits in terms of union communication with employees the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) has created an acronym (TIPS) that simplify the process.

Employers cannot:

• Threaten employees with adverse action if they support a union. For example, they cannot threaten to close the facility if the union is elected. • Interrogate employees about their union activities. This means that employers cannot ask employees any questions about their union activity, including whether they received an authorization card or why they are interested in a particular union. • Promise benefits to employees if they vote against the union. • Spy on--or conduct surveillance of--union activities.

As long as those actions are avoided, employers can take action in any of the following ways to avoid unionization:

• They can remind employees that a union does not guarantee better wages. • They can explain that because a union is the exclusive representative of employees, everything - even simple issues - would need to be presented by and negotiated with the union. • They can explain that employees will be required to pay dues, which could temporarily or permanently mean less take home pay. • They can share their personal experiences with unions or cite examples of other companies and employees suffering as a result of unionization.

Essentially, employers have a right to make it clear they do not want their company to unionize and are free to educate their employees about the pros and cons of a union.

Learn how mediation can help you resolve any commercial and business disputes through interest-based bargaining. Mr. Goldlust is offering his confidential services to parties jointly requesting a neutral facilitator in matters relating to employment, union management relations and general commercial disputes. Call 302-483-2000 or visit

This article was published on 15 Aug 2014 and has been viewed 475 times
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