The Rise of Online Organizing: Virtual Platforms May Offer Enhanced Organizing Strategies

In what may prove to be another game changer in the union organizing process, BuzzFeed News reports that the liberal think tank, The Century Foundation, has released an informational brief calling for the creation of an online tool that could assist employees who wish to organize.

According to The Century Foundation, the goal of this transition would be to “innovate and experiment with a new platform that is faster, homegrown, and simplified for workers to gain influence at work. Given how much today’s workers rely on information technology to do their jobs, there might be significant receptivity to this new online tool… Such a tool would be available to the vast majority of workers and could be of particular interest to younger workers, who are currently the driving force on social media and digital platforms.”

This transition is not surprising and was inevitable, especially when considering our society’s increased communication in the digital world, and the millennial generation’s continual integration into the U.S. workforce. In the hands of the right group, the affects of this digital conversion are significant and could include the following:

  • Overall increased access to employee population;
  • Promotion of a more stealth-driven organizing campaign, which increases the likelihood that union misinformation goes uncorrected;
  • Possible direct access to employee cell phones, where union organizers can provide updates and propaganda pieces during work time;
  • Possible elimination of physical union literature and other distributed pro-union propaganda; and
  • Decreased organizing timeframes.

The future may hold a rapid “one-two punch” for employers, with an online employee organizing drive coming from the left, followed by the Board’s ambush election procedures quickly from the right. Unfortunately, this may prove too daunting for the oblivious employer. Nonetheless, an increased online presence for a union doesn’t necessarily beget a more personal connection with the employee population. From this viewpoint, we may see an increase in internal, employee-driven organizing drives without the help of professional organizers.

Regardless of how this issue works itself out, no one can deny that employee organizing continues to swiftly transform into a much simpler, yet dangerous endeavor for today’s employees.

Best regards,

Andrew J. Lammers
Consultant
Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan
(703) 395-3843
alammers@anh.com