Union Avoidance

Summary
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Although the percentage of union-represented employees in the private sector has steadily decreased since its peak (35%) in 1955, unions are far from irrelevant today. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 unions won approximately 7 out of every 10 National Labor Relations Board elections where the question for employees who were eligible to vote was whether they wanted union representation. Indeed, according to an August, 2017 Gallup poll, 61% of adults polled responded that they approve of unions, the highest percentage since 2003, when 65% said they approve. 

Remaining union-free requires that supervisors, managers and executives (collectively “supervisors”) have a keen knowledge of their rights and responsibilities under the law – the National Labor Relations Act – as well as a deep understanding of what can cause employees to be attracted to union representation. Supervisors who do not understand what they can and cannot say and do when union organizing is taking place can cause their employers significant liability, including their employer’s election victory being nullified and a rerun election conducted. Supervisors who do not understand what makes employees want to be union-represented cannot be relied upon to keep the employees they supervise satisfied and to recognize the signs of employee disaffection at an early enough stage that it  can be countered sooner rather than later – without a National Labor Relations Board election taking place. In the “quickie election” era, preventive labor relations is more important than ever.

Companies that want to remain union-free should teach their supervisors that they have broad freedom to speak with their employees about unions and unionization when the time comes. Those companies also should teach their supervisors that best practices, good communication and fair treatment, rather than how much employees receive in wages and benefits, are most important to employees.

If your company has not yet provided your supervisors with union avoidance training, the time has come to do so. The two to three hours it will take will be a small price to pay to avoid the 70% chance your employees will vote in favor of union representation.

Key Resources

For your convenience, ACC has compiled the following key resources to assist you in your compliance efforts.

For more try searching ACC's online library for "Union Avoidance"

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