As a Human Resources Manager we wear many hats, nd have many responsibilities. One of them is making sure we treat our employees fairly. We also want to make sure we do not give our employees a reason to have another organization, such as unions, to govern over them. A union is used to improve the pay conditions and hours of the employees. The employers would select others to represent them to the employers to talk to them on their behalf. Often the leaders are very influential ad knowledgeable people with fixed views who could speak to equally influential and knowledgeable minded employees. ACME AUTO PARTS
In the case of ACME Auto Parts where the parts workers at various companies are still represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW), they face demands for concessions during every contract negotiation. In responding to the union organizing a drive as an HR Manager I would:
a) Work with the company’s manger’s to identify the issues that are driving employees to consider joining the union. It could be something simple and remedied- something employees have been asking for, but had been frustrated by management or could it be poor management- and be remedied by the firing of the general manager.
b) Go over the company’s mistakes or failures.
c) Make sure we are approachable
d) Ask manager and other employees who are not pro-union to share with other employees their thoughts, and experiences with unions; to talk about why having a union would not be the best option for your particular organization. Plan for Discussing it with Upper Management
a) Discuss with your senior management team why the union is attempting to organize employees, and exactly what organizing activity they are aware of to date. Chances are that some of them will know facts that the chief executive does not know. b) Call a meeting of supervisors and others who exercise front-line authority for management, usually with labor counsel present, making sure not to include in the group any “borderline” non-supervisory persons, such as lead men or low-level working foremen who might conceivably be legally entitled to inclusion in the bargaining unit with other employees eligible to vote. Brief the supervisory group on the situation and find out what they know about it. In addition to group meetings, supervisors should be talked to individually to ascertain exactly what they know of the union activity. c) State to all supervisors the company’s position with respect to the union drive. Let them know there is no need for the employees to be represented by a labor union if the management team does its job properly, and that the employer intends to make every legitimate effort to encourage employees NOT to sign union cards and to vote against the union if and when an election is held. THE ZINNIA
The Zinnia is a 300-room hotel in the central business district of a major Midwestern metropolitan area. This is a full-service hotel—a hotel providing a wide variety of services including food and beverage facilities and meeting rooms—that caters to individual business travelers, convention attendees, and local businesspeople who need meeting space. The Zinnia emphasizes outstanding service and amenities and is owned by a prominent local real estate magnate, Ms. Lucy Balder-cash, who closely monitors the management and financial performance of her diversified properties. Many of this city’s major hotels are unionized, and the Zinnia’s wage rates are equal to the local union wage scale. In responding to the union organizing a drive as an HR Manager I would: a) Be mindful not to act emotionally or with a feeling of betrayal.
Make sure I have a thorough knowledge of the labor law rules and have expert help. My own conventional wisdom won’t suffice, nor will my own determination of what is fair, no matter how objective I think I am. b) Present my side and get the hearing I want by following the game plan the law allows. It may appear too restrictive, but I clearly have weapons available. Despite labor law pitfalls and restrictions and the frustrations they may cause, I can emerge intact from a union’s organizing campaign. c) Hold meetings with our employees on company time and property to answer questions and discuss the company’s position and unionization. I will make sure the meetings aren’t held in a supervisor’s office. d) Talk with employees at their own workstations or in a group meeting. e) Mail literature to the employees’ homes, stating the company’s position, but be careful what I say. Plan for Discussing it with Upper Management:
a) Both the supervisors and the members of the senior management team should be instructed as to the legal “dos and don’ts.” They should be told to immediately increase their personal contacts with the workers in their operations and to engage in informal conversations with them at every opportunity. Once they have been properly briefed, supervisors should make a point of talking to everyone they supervise on at least a daily basis if possible. Ask them to keep me fully informed of anything they learn about the organizing attempts or of any changes in attitudes, indications of union coercion, employee huddles, rumors, etc. b)
c) Set up a method for the senior management team and supervisors to report regularly and promptly what they find out in their conversations with employees. All leads and tips should be immediately followed up in this “hot line” communication network. d) After proper briefing by labor counsel, I will set up a series of meetings with employees in small groups during which a member of high-level management discusses the union organizational drive, and the reasons why the employees do not need a union. SCHOOL DISTRICT 273
School District 273 is a medium-sized public school district in a Northeastern state with a comprehensive bargaining law that includes teachers. The bargaining law allows strikes (except for police, firefighters, and prison guards) and also allows unions to be recognized through a card check recognition procedure if the employer does not object. Otherwise a representation election will be conducted when a petition is supported by 30 percent signed authorization cards. No employees in District 273 are represented by a union, though teachers in many neighboring districts are. District 273 receives 75 percent of its funding from the state based on a statewide per-student funding formula; the remainder comes from local property taxes and fees. To balance the state budget, school funding was reduced by 10 percent. School budgets are also being squeezed by rising health care costs.
And teachers are frustrated by the state’s emphasis on standardized test scores; they feel they are losing control over educational standards and curriculum. A grassroots unionization effort started among some teachers at the district’s high school near the beginning of the school year. It is now the middle of the school year, and the leaders of this grassroots effort—which they are now calling the District 273 Teacher’s Association—claim to have signed authorization cards from 70 percent of the teachers, including large numbers at all the district’s schools. They have asked the school board to voluntarily recognize their union and schedule bargaining sessions to hear their concerns and negotiate a contract that preserves teachers’ input into the educational process. WOODVILLE HEALTHCARE
Woodville HealthCare is a for-profit health care provider formed through the merger of several networks of physicians. It operates 50 managed care clinics and employs 400 doctors in the West. The merger has resulted in a major restructuring of operations. Several clinics have been closed, and a number of new operating guidelines have been implemented. Doctors are now required to see more patients; specialty medical procedures and nongeneric prescriptions must be approved by the medical authorization department; and expensive procedures can negatively affect a doctor’s salary. Some doctors contacted a national doctors’ union that is affiliated with one of the largest U.S. unions, and an organizing drive was launched.
After a petition was filed with the NLRB, Woodville filed objections and argued that the doctors were supervisors and therefore excluded from the NLRA. The NLRB eventually ruled that 100 of the doctors had supervisory responsibilities, but that 300 were nonmanagerial doctors. Woodville then spent $200,000 (plus staff time) on an antiunion campaign leading up to last week’s election for the 300 nonmanagerial doctors. The election results were 142 voting in favor of the union, 128 against. This is a slim seven-vote margin, and you have until tomorrow to decide whether to appeal the results of the election by filing objections with the NLRB. Several days before the election, the union’s website reported salary figures for Woodville’s top executives that were grossly inflated.
Courtney from Study Moose