Posted by Steven Mayo, HR Consultant for HR Learning Center LLC on Jun 15th 2022

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh met in early May 2022 with several Union Organizers who have had success with organizing drives at companies such as Starbucks. There has been renewed interest in unionization at companies that employ a mostly younger, college educated and more mobile workforce. The goal of the meeting, according to news reports, was to discuss what strategies the Organizers are using in order to first generate interest in unionizing and winning representation elections.

The Biden administration wants to encourage workers to organize and collectively bargain with their employers over wages, benefits and other working conditions.

However, unlike past unionization drives, in addition to the traditional wages and benefits issues playing a large role in worker dissatisfaction, today’s union drives can also be organized around issues with greater appeal to today’s workforce. Among these issues are issues of perceived harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The perceived discrimination may not be based on race but on things such as pregnancy discrimination or discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. Other issues people are organizing around include policies regarding childcare and family leaves, minimum staffing levels and work life balance.

If your workforce is not union represented, should you be concerned?

While it is never good to be overly concerned you certainly should be aware of some of the factors that drive employees towards unionization and analyze your organization to see if any of those factors are present in your organization. You want to make it less likely that your company will be targeted for an organizing drive.

The first step in this process is to look at your current policies and practices in the areas of:

- Wages and Benefits

- Dispute Resolution Procedures

- Clear, Equally Applied Decisions and Leaves and other time away from work

- Communication with your employees

- Employee participation in Decision Making

The basic concept is to make sure the individual employee feels respected and is treated fairly. Of course, you also don’t want to hand an issue to Union Organizers that will make their job easier. One such issue in a recent organizing drive is where a software company fired all of their part time workers and transferred their duties to the full-time staff. That move resulted in a successful union organizing drive.

Want to know more about keeping your workplace Union free? HR Learning Center LLC can help. You can register for our recent webinar “Guide to Staying Union Free” or register for our three hour/three day "Labor Relations Certification Program". You can also contact us directly on this or other labor or employment law issues at info@hrlearningcenter.com or call us at 914 417-1715.