Do’s and Don’ts in Union Organizing Campaigns

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.