Human Resources Consulting - Columbia SC



o: All Unions in the United States engaged in the collective bargaining process for their members
From: The Obama appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Subject: Merry Christmas. Due to our recent decisions, you should now be able to easily win more union organizing campaigns.

The information above is obviously a made up memorandum addressed to the Unions in the United States from the NLRB. Unfortunately, the sentiment it describes is very real. Recently, the NLRB has made two decisions which will give Unions the upper hand during any organizing efforts. In 2007, the NLRB rendered a decision which stated that employees had no statutory right to use their employers’ e-mail system for union organizing purposes. On December 11, 2014, the present Board reversed that decision and stated that employees’ use of an employers’ e-mail system for organizing purposes on nonworking time must now be permitted. As a result, the Board is saying that the rights of employees to engage in discussions of wages, benefits, working conditions and other terms and conditions of employment now trump the property rights of employers in almost any circumstance. Now, union organizers in the workplace have a very valuable organizing tool. This decision most likely will also result in more unfair labor practice charges and litigation.

One day later, on December 12, 2014 the NLRB released a statement that on April 14, 2015 it will be implementing its long awaited ”ambush” or “quickie election” rules which will expedite the period between the representation petition and the actual election. This gives employers very little time to educate their employees on the benefits of maintaining a union free work environment. Additionally, employers will now also have to provide the union with the personal email addresses and the telephone numbers of all employees who are eligible to vote for or against union representation. Companies may find themselves quickly unionized due to the new speediness of the election campaign period.

As a result of these two decisions, all employers should start preparing for potential union organizing efforts and elections now. Supervisors will need to be trained on how to recognize the early warning signs of union activity and to know what they can and cannot do and say during a union campaign under the complex labor laws that govern the process.
These new procedures will undoubtedly increase the morale of union organizers who are eager to stem the tide of recent membership declines. It is anticipated that we will see an immediate increase in union organizing activity as a result.

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Paul Hilton, Human Resources Consulting, LLC
Columbia, South Carolina
Office: (803) 481-9533
Cell: (803) 305-8962 

Paul Hilton, Human Resources Consulting, LLC