Case # 1: Management campaigns and Union organizing at KCOM-KOCH Medical, Inc.
The strategy that KCOM-KOHC utilized in dealing with labor’s attempt to unionize was closely associated with the union substitution model.
Communications strategy: to improve communication between top management, middle management and employees.
Wage survey strategy: undertook a wage survey study to improve the company’s compensation plan.
Retained a Labor relations Law firm: The firm had previous experience in antiunion tactics.
Conducted interviews to determine how the supervisors and managers felt about the union campaign.
Identify what they felt were the key issuesto
* Use the information to develop the type of training and support the supervisors and managers would need to prepare them to carry out the strategy that KCOM-KOHC would use. * Supervisors and managers were given handouts on the “Dos and Don’ts of a union campaign” * Films of a firm dealing with a union campaign and of a strike at an inner city hospital was shown * A class on union authorization cards was given to management personnel.
Did the company commit any Unfair labor practices?
Yes the company did apparently commit such ULPs.
* The President of KCOM; Dr. Charles Moore, sent a memorandum to all employees, appealing to them not to sign the union authorization cards. This is considered an ULP in that it creates a climate of undue influence to the workers not to engage in or join union organizing campaigns. Employers can and should talk to employees about why they think the workplace can do without a union. They should emphasize what’s already in place that makes the company a great place to work. ( ref. How can we prevent a union from organizing in our company? www.shrm.org 6/29/2009) * Terminating an employee due to union activity, which is a direct violation of the National Labor Relations Act. *
The union’s approach to strategic planning is as follows: * Holding of secret organizing meetings: an orientation with union organizers and employees to identify possible officers for the union. * Distribution of authorization cards: for a membership drive to gauge workers’ interest collective bargaining agreements. * Focusing on issues deemed as “ winning union campaigns” emphasizing wage concerns, communication, job security, worker floating policies and procedures. * Postings at strategic locations: bulletins contained information about pay, vacations, and other benefits and compensation. * Filing of ULP charges on behalf of KCOM-KOHC workers against management to tie up the lawyers’ time with such charges. * Informing employees of protected rights under the National Labor Relations Act: one area focused on the terminations of employees for any union activity they engage in. * Mailing campaign of leaflet titled “ Have you heard this message yet?” this leaflet addressed 7 questions that the union felt management would raise. This was a misstep by union in that it opened the door for management on issues that they had not raised. * Disseminating posters of cartoon caricatures: it attempted to depict management as powerless against the union.
Did the union commit any ULPs?
Yes, the filing of excessive and bogus ULPs of over 60 charges against management: This was basically done to bog down and tie up management’s legal resources, time and money.
A direct attack against management by the leaflet campaign: This would be deemed an ULP due to shifting fault on management.
Discuss the relevance of right to work laws to this union organizing effort.
First and foremost, this union organizing effort is taking place in the state of Missouri. Missouri is not covered as one of the states with right to work...