The NLRB’s new “quickie” election rules significantly reduce the period of time that can transpire between the filing of an election petition and voting on union representation. These rules, to be implemented April 14, 2015, create a situation where there will be little to no time to engage in a traditional union avoidance campaign such as utilizing third party persuaders. Now, more than ever, it is important for management to be in touch with, and sensitive to, the dynamics of the workplace. The key to remaining union-free is early intervention when you first become aware of organizing activity. Timely and effective avoidance actions will be critical to success. There are four general categories of change to the organizational dynamic to look out for: changes to the workplace social structure, changes in employee behavior, changes in employee issues, and the presence of unusual events.
Here are some early warning signs and indicators of organizing activity.
- Have you noted the presence of any “new informal leaders” among your rank and file employees?
- Has an employee been receiving much more “attention” from fellow employees than they previously did?
- Has an employee suddenly been making or receiving an increased number of personal phone calls?
- Have you noticed new employee cliques forming and/or old cliques breaking up?
- Has tension increased between employees, e.g., employees who used to socialize stopped doing so?
- Do employees’ group discussions break off when you approach?
- Have there been strangers on the premises or hanging about near the facility before or after work hours.
- Has there been an increase in questions about, or challenges to, your Solicitation Policy?
- Has there been an increase in questions or complaints about employee policies?
- Have employees increased usage of the grievance/dispute resolution policy?
- Have the number of complaints filed with government agencies such as EEOC, Wage and Hour, OSHA increased?
- Has there been an increase in the usage of union/contract terminology such as talk about employee rights, seniority, binding arbitration, equalization of overtime, etc.?
- Are rumors about unionization circulating?
- Is there any presence of printed unionization material or cards?
- Have you seen certain employees suddenly coming to work early or lingering afterwards?
- Have you noticed any employees engaging in deliberately provocative or defiant behavior toward a supervisor?
- Has any employee been seen copying employee names from timecards?
- Have any files or other documents been disturbed, misplaced, or reported missing?
- Have employees been working on computer terminals during breaks or after work in a manner different from the past?
- Has absenteeism or tardiness increased?
- Are there any reports of union organizers calling employees at home or making visits?
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, chances are you have organizing activity percolating at some level within the organization, and you need to take immediate action. Remember, union avoidance is all about preventing NLRB elections from occurring in the first place.
Please contact us for more information.
Jonathan K. Orris
Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan