Despite all attempts to understand why and how employees engage in union activity, that day has arrived and an employer is now involved in a union organizing campaign.
It is imperative that employers avoid unfair labor practice (ULP) charges that could later detrimentally impact a winning employer campaign.
With the intent to keep it very simple, there are two common acronyms to learn and abide by during a union campaign: FOE and TIPS.
FOE represents what employers CAN say and DO:
- F=Fact: Do continue to share factually accurate information with employees with regard to existing SOPs, benefits, wages, processes, etc.
- O=Opinion: Do share opinions and viewpoints on unions in general, as well as experiences in working with unions.
- E=Example: Do give examples of history, background and outcomes of unionized employers (e.g. strikes; loss of jobs; shutdowns; etc.) that can be proved.
TIPS represents what employers CANNOT say nor DO:
- T=Threats: Don’t make any threats to discourage union membership or voting for a union such as cutting benefits, wages and hours; laying off or discharging; shutting down or moving a facility; discontinuing existing employee programs or other incentives.
- I=Interrogate: Don’t ask employees how or what they or their co-workers are doing with regard to their union activity; how they intend to vote; or about confidential union information, such as who attended meetings, etc.
- P=Promise: Don’t promise employees benefits or rewards in exchange for information; voting against a union; not engaging in union activity; etc. such as more pay, overtime, promotions, working conditions, etc.
- S=Surveillance: Don’t spy on employees’ union activity, such as going to a union meeting or place where a meeting will be held, or ask another employee to report back any union activity.
While this is only a high-level summary of basic guidelines, it should help employers avoid unnecessary ULP landmines, yet encourage continual dialogue during the campaign process.