Analytics

Monday, March 30, 2009

EFCA: What Employers Can Do

The Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in Congress, with plenty of vocal proponents and opponents.

The bill has two main elements:
  1. It would give workers the option of forming unions by getting a majority of workers to sign cards to join without having to hold a secret ballot election. (Current law leaves it up to employers to decide whether workers must hold an election or can organize via "card check.")
  2. If employers and workers cannot reach a contract within 120 days, a government arbitrator intervenes and sets terms.
The possibility of many non-union businesses becoming unionized is real. So what can employer do? The best advice I've seen yet comes from Mark Mathison and Abigail Crouse of Gray Plant Moody in this article here. I've summarized their excellent suggestions:
  1. Adopt an Internal Position Statement on Unions and Labor Relations
  2. Conduct An Employee Issue and Satisfaction Audit
  3. Ensure that Communication Lines are Open and that Managers are Responsive to Employee Issues
  4. Review Employment Policies and Practices
Further, say Mathison & Crouse, it is important to audit for actual employment practice and policy enforcement within the organization because disparate enforcement adversely affecting unions or employees’ labor law rights can also be unfair labor practices with substantial negative impact in critical situations.

2 comments:

Michael D said...

Whether unionization is positive for business, the workforce, or the economy is a conversation best left to someone in a field other than mine. As an I/O Psychologist my interest lies in organizational success through the well-being of employees.

If no other good comes from EFCA, at least it is forcing companies to have an important conversation. In searching for ways to combat unionization, employers are realizing they need engaged employees – who feel communicated to, safe, valued, and a strong commitment to the company. I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter from the legal community about the need for ‘union vulnerability audits’ to ensure a satisfied workplace where unions are viewed unnecessary. Whether or not the EFCA passes I think employees (and organization) will benefit from the discussion.

Brett said...

Eric and Michael, very good points and valuable information both.

Communication is the key. It's funny- it seems so simple, yet I talk to a lot of people who are afraid to talk about the "U" word- unions with their employees. Let your employees know how you feel...and why you feel that way.