The threat of union organizing is a subject of considerable concern to most non-union employers. In nearly all cases, employers that remain non-union consider their status a product of convincing their employees that outside representation is not necessary. However, what most of these employers fail to realize is that unions have become increasingly aggressive and proactive with their organizing efforts. Some unions are no longer waiting for poor management practices or employee discontent to serve as a motivation to begin the organizing process. One significant example of this shift in tactics is the recent formation of the Change to Win federation.
Change to Win is an alliance of seven unions with the united goal of placing a heavy emphasis on organizing new members. The seven unions are Service Employees International Union (SEIU), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Laborers’ International Union (LIUNA), UNITE-HERE; formerly the United Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees Union and formerly Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), and The United Farm Workers (UFW). This focused objective should be a cause of concern for any non-union employer. What makes this coalition even more significant is that it has adopted the philosophy and drive of Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a dynamic member of the coalition. A protégé of John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, Stern has made a career out of placing a strong emphasis on organizing new members into his union. In addition to the SEIU, Change to Win contains other formidable unions like the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE-HERE. The collected resources and finances of these unions signal resurgence in new organizing campaigns.
For non-union employers it has become increasingly important to not only consistently assess their workplace environment and workforce but also understand the new types of organizing methods that these unions use to successfully convince employees that they need union representation. It is certainly not hyperbole to say the skill and tenacity of many of these organizers should not be underestimated.
However, the best preventative measure an employer can take is to stay abreast of issues and concerns that affect a workforce. This kind of information is paramount in dealing with the onset of an aggressive organizing campaign. In addition it is very important for management teams to understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal labor laws so they can best deal with any type of union organizing activity.