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August 26, 2011
'Dos' and 'Don'ts' When Campaigning Against Union Organization

In a BLR webinar entitled "Unions: New 'Quickie Election' Regulations on the Table; How to Protect Your Workplace," Maria Anastas, Esq., partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC addressed some of the best practices and areas to avoid when campaigning against the potential for union organization within the company.

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As for what to do, remember the acronym FOE:

  • Facts: "This union has fined its members for crossing the union's picket line."
  • Opinions: "I don't think a union will be able to get you more than what you have right now."
  • Examples: "The employees at XYZ Company voted this union out five years ago."

While there is much you can legally say to employees about unions there are a few restrictions. Remember the acronym TIPS. While each letter doesn't necessary stand for a "don't," it stands for a communication area that requires supervisors to be a little careful. Not afraid, just careful:

  • Threat
  • Interrogation (questions)
  • Promises
  • Spying or surveillance -- when the topic is unions.

Always remember that:

  • The campaign should not be predictable.
  • Avoid "stock" materials and videos.
  • Messages should be simple, honest and creatively presented.
  • Communicators should be credible and respected among workers.

Maria Anastas, Esq., is a partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC (www.ogletreedeakins.com). She represents employers in labor and employment law matters exclusively, with a primary emphasis on traditional labor matters. She handles union organizing drives and corporate campaigns, collective bargaining and arbitration, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). She also devotes a substantial portion of her practice to helping employers develop preventive labor relations plans.

Need help staying on top of critical HR and Compensation issues? See all the webinars BLR has to offer.

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