Unionization may sound like a good idea to workers, but employers fight tooth and nail to prevent unions from gaining a foothold in their workplace.
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The history of unions in America is fraught with conflicts between workers and employers with passionate arguments on both sides of the issue.
The process for unionization requires 30% of workers to sign a union card. This is followed by waiting period of several months, during which federal officials conduct a secret ballot election for unionization. Unions argue that employers unfairly use the waiting period to dissuade workers from unionizing. But employers know that if it comes to a vote, they have already lost the battle.
The best way to avoid unionization is to take preventative measures that make it difficult for unions to gain a foothold in your workforce. In a union shop, workers could end up paying union fees from the same wages they earn now, so there is an incentive for both workers and employers to work toward the creation of a fair workplace without union interference.
- Competitive wages. A employer commitment to competitive wages is a powerful disincentive for unionization. Employers who set compensation at or above industry levels have a significant edge over employers who refuse to compensate their workers fairly.
- Compliance. Higher compensation isn't a union's only concern. Unions are also committed to providing their members with safe workplaces, sound employment practices and non-discriminatory work environments. By reviewing your company's policies and procedures for compliance, you can immunize your workforce from a perceived need to unionize.
- Communication. In many cases, private sector unions develop due to a severe lack of communication between the employer and the workers. Business employers who regularly communicate with their employees and provide opportunities to hear their grievances are less vulnerable to unionization, particularly if the employer makes reasonable accommodations for employee requests.
- Site control. It's common for union representatives to organize private workforces without the owner or employer's knowledge. By the time the employer is aware of the representative's presence it's too late to prevent a vote. That's why it's important for employers to maintain strict site control standards. All visitors should be required to sign for security and monitoring purposes.
- Documentation. Without proper documentation, the value of your company's employee policies is limited. Carefully document employee disciplinary actions to demonstrate compliance with policies and the fair application of workplace protocols.