Union Organizing

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Labor Relations

Week 6 Final Paper

Union Campaigning Process

Campaigning is something that is done in many aspects of life. It breaks down to basically creating arguments to sell yourself or your company to a group of people. President hopefuls set out on a campaign trail every four years to try and get people to vote for them. I always thought that this was the only form of campaigning, but I was incorrect. Employers and Unions both use campaigning to get workers to either avoid, or join a union. Each side has their own tactics and goals to achieve. I plan to analyze both sides and show the pros and cons of each.

Employer campaign tactics start with four key factors that determine voting decisions. These factors are job dissatisfaction, union instrumentality, general union attitudes and collective social identity. Employers try to provide information to employees consisting of pro-company, anti-union information. Employers use many tactics during their campaign process to attempt to get their workers to avoid joining a union. Some of these include sending out letters or email messages with negative aspects of the union organization, or supervisors meeting with employees individually or in small groups. Another tactic that works to the advantage of employers is utilizing its private property rights to prohibit outside organizations from entering the workplace and interacting with their workers. A drawback to that tactic is that they have to maintain the rule for all organizations, and not just unions. One of the more common tactics is the captive audience meeting. This is typically a group meeting held in the workplace during work hours, where employees listen to management describe their antiunion and pro-company presentations. These meetings are completely legal as long as they are not within 24 hours of an election. Employers need to be careful not to cross lines in regards to their tactics. Some of them can be considered illegal if they are overly aggressive or threatening. Some of these employer tactics are heavily debated due to their difficulty to measure and observe, so that kind of has the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) keeping an eye on employer tactics, and how they run their campaign. They want to ensure that there is no threatening of workers, or any other funny business going on.

Union campaign processes also target the four key factors of worker complaints within a company. Union organizers use a vastly different set of tactics to get their information out, and attempt to get a union organized within a workplace. No matter how closely labor laws attempt to regulate the balance of rights during union and employer campaigning processes, the employers always seem to have more power over their property, and their employees. Unions need to get creative with their campaigning. Unions have some disadvantages against them because they cannot show workers instant results. Instead they make a lot of what seems like empty promises that they need to fulfill if they are successful during their campaign. One of their tactics that they use to get in contact with workers is by accessing the Excelsior List. The Excelsior List is simply a list of the names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in the election. Employers must provide this list to the union organizers to comply with a rule the NLRB established in 1966. Unions then utilize the list to send out mailings or set up home visits by a union representative to speak with the worker directly. A distinct disadvantage to using this list is that a lot of workers may view it as an invasion of privacy, and choose not to speak with the union representative. Alternatively, with the advance of technology, unions are now utilizing the Internet and web pages to help distribute information without violating an employee’s privacy. In comparison with employer campaigning, unions definitely have a more passive approach. Unions also have to recognize that...
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