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.
Our employees ultimately voted to overwhelmingly defeat the Teamsters 43-no to 3-yes that allows us to continue to work directly with our employees in their best interest giving the us the opportunity to make things right.”
-WS, Director of HR
In my prior article, “The Secret Sauce of Maintaining a Great Place to Work,” there were five ingredients needed for an optimal work environment. One ingredient, “creating an avenue for employees to participate in decision-making on matters that affect their work,”...
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