The website http://www.unionizeme.org launched a few months ago with the stated goal of “ending poverty for employees at large companies through unionization.” The website, which generally targets fast food and retail workers, is another creative way for unions to push the envelope of alternative organizing tactics.
The website provides workers with a way to register individual accounts (allowing unions to gather the workers’ personal information and specific work location). Once registered, employees sign a union authorization card and are encouraged to have their coworkers do the same. The authorization card advises the employees that by signing they agree to allow unionizeme.org to represent them in negotiations with their employer over wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions.
Sounds like traditional electronic-based organizing, right? Wrong. The website does not seek to unionize a specific workplace. Instead, it seeks to organize clusters of stores in the same geographic area. Once 30% of a proposed bargaining unit in each store in the cluster has signed an authorization card, the cards are submitted to the NLRB for a representation election.
While http://www.unionizeme.org is registered as a 501(c)(5) nonprofit labor union, its website makes no mention of a specific union or where it receives funding.
Employers – especially in the fast food and retail industries – should be aware of this alternative organizing strategy and develop positive employment relations strategies to thwart its growth in your area.
Matt Austin who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.