Micro-units and the National Labor Relations Board’s “overwhelming community of interest” standard are here to stay. Persuader rules and quickie ambush elections are right around the corner. An aggressive pro-union NLRB will make sure that 2014 is the year that unionization proliferates.
Companies wanting to remain union free must at least do the following immediately:
- Examine your organization to determine which job classifications or departments share skill levels so that they can be combined to make broad identifiable groupings.
- Flatten your management organizing so that more employees report to the same managers.
- Develop incentive plans or productivity measurements that cover the larger grouping.
- Cross-train employees in the larger group so that they can move easily across traditional job classifications and departments.
- Establish compensation grids and promotional opportunities that are common for all employees in the larger unit.
I know this is asking a lot and most companies think it is problematic and disruptive to the way they’ve always done business. But believe me, negotiating and administering a union contract and dealing with a union business agent is much more problematic and disruptive.
Clients who have preemptively contacted me to help examine their company’s organization charts for union susceptibility are light years ahead of companies who think that their workers won’t go union. It only takes a few workers – literally 2 or 3 friends can get together – to get a union into your workplace.
Take proactive steps today to protect what you have spent years to build.
Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. Austin Legal’s Concierge Legal Services program is relied upon by companies to remain compliant and competitive. If you have employees, you need Concierge Legal Services. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Austin@LaborEmploymentOSHA.com.