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UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE. Why Ees Join Unions Question is one of instrumentality: will U be instrumental in attainment of desired job outcomes? Decision depends of subjective assessment of expected benefits to be obtained vs. costs

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union organizing and employer response
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Why Ees Join Unions
    • Question is one of instrumentality: will U be instrumental in attainment of desired job outcomes?
      • Decision depends of subjective assessment of expected benefits to be obtained vs. costs
      • Some individuals simply inclined toward individual rather than collective action
    • Evidence
      • Nonwhites more likely to join
      • Women historically thought to be less inclined to join, no longer true
      • Re: job satisfaction, little doubt that satisfied workers disinclined to organize, esp re: economic satisfaction
      • Er campaigns do influence election voting, esp ULPs
union organizing and employer response2
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Why Ees Join Unions
    • Evidence
      • Most recent evidence indicates that U tactics in campaign may matter more than Er tactics
        • In particular, “rank & file intensive strategy” appears effective
          • Representative committee
          • Majority of unit “house-called” (person to person contact)
          • Use of new issues (union democracy, representative participation, dignity, justice, fairness; not simply ‘bread & butter’)
          • “Solidarity Days” (escalating pressure tactics)
        • But relatively few unions using this strategy
        • Some unions reaching out to become part of broader social movement
      • U win rate declines dramatically as size of unit increases
union organizing and employer response3
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Share of nonunion workers who say they would vote for a union at their company

1984 30%

1993 39%

2003 47%

2005 53%

Data: Peter D. Hart Associates as reported in Business Week, 9/13/04; Peter D. Hart Associates, August 2005.

union organizing and employer response4
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Management Response
    • Q: Why does mngt usually resist unionization?
    • Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Nonunion
      • Advantages
        • Efficiency, flexibility
          • Note that empirical evidence suggests, other things equal, unionized facilities more productive (but unionized firms less profitable)
        • Lower turnover (?)
        • Lower staffing levels
        • Morale
        • Less resistance to technological change
        • No time lost to conflict, negotiations, contract administration
      • Disadvantages
        • Flexibility may be illusory
        • Use of organizing threat
        • Requires first-rate lower-level mngt
union organizing and employer response5
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Management Response
    • “Substitution” Strategy (“Positive” Approach)
      • Articulation of corporate philosophy that stresses welfare of individual Ee in overall objectives of firm
      • HR programs that serve many of same functions as U
        • Ee participation programs
        • Communication
        • NonU grievance systems
        • Pay for knowledge
union organizing and employer response6
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Management Response
    • “Suppression” Strategy
      • U avoidance campaign here is stop-gap measure
        • Attempt to define election unit in favorable manner
        • Challenge validity of submitted authorization cards
        • Attempt to delay election
          • Evidence suggests delay works to mngt’s advantage
        • “Captive audience” speeches
        • Persuasive communication generally stresses costs of unionization, potential difficulty for U in obtaining changes, disruptive influence of “third party”
        • Illegal behavior
          • Illegal behavior has increased, other things equal
union organizing and employer response7
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Share of representation elections in which union supporter is illegally fired is increasing, as discussed in previous chapter’s slides
union organizing and employer response8
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Management Response
    • Choice of Strategy
      • Depends in part on financial resources available
      • Firms choosing suppression strategy tend to have:
        • Low wage Ees, semiskilled, easily replaced
        • Low profit, highly competitive industries
        • Willingness to litigate
      • Firms w/some unionized operations place lower emphasis on U avoidance than firms w/little to no unionization
        • Most firms strongly opposed to unionization of white-collar Ees
      • Top mngt philosophy plays role
      • Changing social climate and declining U political power may lead to increased mngt willingness to take on unions
online forums
Online Forums
  • Websites like glassdoor.com or jobvent.com feature online forums or bulletin boards for employees. Is it ethical for a company to monitor these sites to see what its workers are saying?
union organizing and employer response13
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Union Counter-Strategies
    • Neutrality Pact
  • Organizing Campaign
    • Starts w/organizing issues and either U initiative or Ee inquiry
    • Keys to Er Campaign
      • Raise concerns about how U would perform if elected
      • Convince Ees that Co deserves second chance
        • Appeals to loyalty likely to be more powerful than threats, as latter is consistent w/image of unfairness U trying to create
    • Er advantages in Campaign
      • Better access to Ees
      • Offering possibility of improvements wo/cost of U dues
        • Crowds line of legality
      • Most persons are risk-averse
union organizing and employer response14
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • Keys to U Campaign
      • U is fellow Ees, not outsiders
      • Change is worth fighting for
      • Ees will be protected from Er reprisals
      • U officials can be trusted
    • Internal organizing committee critical
union organizing and employer response15
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • Framework
      • Authorization card campaign
        • Authorizes U to serve as bargaining representative
        • If U obtains signatures from majority of Ees, can demand recognition directly from Er
          • Er will likely refuse request, asserting that Ees have right to an election
        • Filing of petition
        • Showing of interest
          • 30% showing required (same for decert)
      • Question of appropriate unit
        • Board will examine to determine “community of interest”
          • In mfg, common to include production and maintenance ees together in ‘industrial’ unit
      • Election bar
      • Contract bar
        • Petition is untimely if filed during term of existing CBA, 3 yrs max (60-90 days prior to CBA expiration)
      • Consent election or hearing
        • Re: appropriate bargaining unit, date of election
union organizing and employer response16
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • NLRB regulation of election
      • “laboratory conditions”
        • Election will be set aside if accompanied by conduct that NLRB considers to create atmosphere of confusion or fear of reprisal, thus interferes w/Ees’ freedom of choice
          • E.g., threat of loss of jobs or benefits
          • Captive audience speeches within 24 hours of election
          • Threat or use of physical violence by U to influence votes
      • Ee solicitation of other Ees can be done on Co property on nonwork time
        • NonEe organizers can be barred, if nondiscriminatory no-solicitation rule in effect
      • Ees may typically wear buttons, etc.
      • Board will not set election aside on basis of false or misleading statements, for the most part; assumes Ees can recognize propaganda as such
union organizing and employer response17
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • NLRB regulation of election
      • Dominion Engineered Textiles (1994)
        • Co president spoke on videotape sent to Ees during campaign
          • “We need to work together. We need understanding. We need to cooperate and treat each other reasonably. We don’t need to be divided, to be pulling in different directions. We need to apply all our energies toward working together.”
          • “But that will be very difficult to do if we have to meet and argue with this union all the time. And make no mistake about it, this will be one long argument with the union. The URW has continually shown their inability or unwillingness to deal with issues of change, efficiency, and competitiveness. Over the past 20 years, the Rubberworkers have left a path of closed plants. Companies have gone out of business because they couldn’t survive the problems of lack of cooperation the URW brought with them.”
union organizing and employer response18
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • NLRB regulation of election
      • Dominion Engineered Textiles (1994)
        • Co argued that if attention was focused on U negotiations and not on making operational changes, then plant would continue to be in financial difficulty and might be closed
        • Supreme Court in 1969 case held Er’s predictions of dire economic circumstances stemming from U organization must not contain “any implication that an employer may or may not take action solely on his own initiative for reasons unrelated to economic necessities known only to him…. If such a prediction is made, it must be supported on the basis of objective fact to convey an employer’s belief, as to demonstrably probable consequences beyond his control.”
union organizing and employer response19
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Organizing Campaign
    • NLRB regulation of election
      • Dominion Engineered Textiles (1994)
        • Board found Co president’s comments to be a threat
        • Er suggested that plant closure may be precipitated by mere fact of having to bargain with U, U election victory would be “devastating” because U would be “major distraction”
union organizing and employer response20
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Decertification
    • Ers prohibited from initiating discussion w/Ees concerning decertification procedure, promoting or participating in effort to repudiate U
      • Er may respond to Ees’ questions about decert process
    • All activity associated w/decert petition must occur on Ees’ nonwork time wo/any substantial assistance from Er
union organizing and employer response21
UNION ORGANIZING AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE
  • Analysis of Decline in U Membership
    • Change in Economy and Labor Force
      • Shift away from mfg, toward South, toward white collar
    • Decline in U Organizing Activity
      • Decline in number of elections, average size of elections, percentage won by unions; increase in decerts
        • 7,000+ elections in 1980, ~2,500 in 2003
        • Unions have won 55% of elections held over last five years
      • U expenditures per member in organizing campaigns declining
    • Change in Er Practices
      • When new plants opened w/new HRM model, essentially immune to unionization
    • Changes in Legal Environment
    • Attitudes of Workers Toward Unions
      • Individualism
        • About 40% of Americans say they feel ‘somewhat positive’ or ‘very positive’ about unions, compared w/ 38% a decade ago
          • Source: Wall Street Journal, 8/15/05
      • Increase in satisfaction of nonU workers w/jobs, decrease in perceived U instrumentality (but note most recent data)
state of unions today
State of Unions Today

Union certification elections

1970 7,773

1980 7,296

1990 3,623

2003 2,516

2008 1,635 (unions won 63%; also 296 de-certification elections, of which unions won 44%)

NLRB data (1970-2003) reported in Business Week,9/13/04; 2008 data from NLRB Annual Report

recent indiana elections
Recent Indiana Elections
  • JCIM, Kendallville (Ft. Wayne area)/UAW, U won decert 74-52
  • USALCO, Michigan City/UFCW, U lost decert 5-2
  • Conn-Selmer, Elkhart/UAW, U lost decert 105-63
  • Bon Appetit Management, Indianapolis/UNITE HERE, U won decert 19-15
  • Help at Home, Indianapolis/SEIU, U won 38-24
  • AKAL Security, Indianapolis/UGSOA (United Government Security Officers of America), U won 21-11
  • Veolia, Schererville/IUOE (Operating Engineers), U won 51-0
  • Certainteed, Terre Haute/USWA, U lost 48-16
the new union worker
“The New Union Worker”
  • Many of fastest-growing unions in U.S. represent white-collar professionals, including physicians, nuclear engineers, psychologists, and judges
    • Decaying job security and benefits and effects of global trade on labor costs have begun to reach into ranks of professional ees
      • Pharmacists U represents ees at Kaiser Permanente, who earn ~$54/hr, $10/hr more than non-U pharmacists
      • Psychologists in NY joined AFT due to frustration w/ changes in working conditions (managed-care cutbacks) and inability to fight changes on own
        • Most psychologists are independent contractors and thus can’t form own organization due to anti-trust laws – but they are allowed to affiliate w/ existing U to benefit from lobbying services
    • Much of growth is in public sector
      • Organizing elections at gov’t agencies succeed more than 90% of time
    • Today, more than 51% of all U members are defined by AFL-CIO as white-collar workers
          • Source: Wall Street Journal, 9/27/05