Labor Unions

Starting a Company With Union Labor

Labor requirements are a key component of a sound business plan. Here's what you'll need to consider if you're starting a company with union labor.

Starting is a business is a lot of hard work.

The process of creating a viable business plan, raising startup capital and penetrating existing markets is enough to tire anyone, even the most diligent startup entrepreneurs and business owners.

Hiring a quality labor force is a major hurdle for new business owners. The staffing process is even more complicated when starting a company with union labor. Although you may not necessarily employ union workers right out of the gate, there's a chance that your workforce will quickly unionize. Hiring independent contractors can also create union employment scenarios since many contractors belong to trade unions.

The outcome of hiring and maintaining a union workforce depends on your preparedness as well as your perspective about unions. In general, small business employers view unionization as a negative business development. But with the right attitude and education, you can learn how to fully integrate union workers into your strategy for success.

  • Employment expectations. New business owners fail to appreciate the fact that their relationship with their employees will be contentious, whether the employees unionize or not. As an owner, your job is to maximize revenue and minimize costs, including the cost of labor. Employees, on the other hand, are motivated to secure higher wages, better benefits and safer work environments. The tension between these conflicting agendas exists in both union and non-union workplaces.
  • Industry & geographic considerations. The likelihood that your employees will unionize is somewhat dependent on your industry and the location of your business. For example, manufacturing companies located in the Midwest and Northeast face a higher chance of a unionized business startup than a small pizza shop located in North Carolina.
  • Employer rights. Employers are granted certain rights by law. If your workplace employs unionized workers or contractors, you'll need to educate yourself about your legal rights. If necessary, consult with legal counsel before you take any actions that involve union employees.
  • Unionization process. As an employer, you are legally permitted to take certain actions to deter your workers from forming a union. Since some actions are legally prohibited, you will again need to consult your attorney for advice.
  • Advantages of unions. Small business employers tend to overlook the potential advantages unions can offer their company. Powerful unions have political pull that can facilitate the awarding of state or federal job contracts, and union concerns can provide the inspiration you need to create a safer or more pleasant work environment.

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