To Keep Unions Away, Play Fair

To Keep Unions Away, Play Fair Photo: 949billwright, via Wikimedia Commons

The United Auto Workers union and others are stepping up their organizing efforts, says Foley & Lardner senior counsel Michael Groebe. On Labor and Employment Law Perspectives, Groebe offers tips to help companies wanting to keep unions away.

First, Groebe says if you are planning to discipline an employee, be sure to be fair, prompt and consistent. Put employees on notice in advance, so they know what conduct will result in discipline and what the consequences of engaging in misconduct will be, he says. In addition, Groebe says companies should promptly investigate and impose the appropriate punishment, ensuring it matches what was done in similar situations in the past as much as possible.

Next, be sure there is a formal evaluation system in place that provides timely reviews. The more employees feel like they’re getting a fair shot, the less likely they will be to seek the assistance of a union, he notes.

When conflicts between employees and employers do arise, Groebe advises companies to give workers the chance to air their grievances to help prevent the situation from escalating.

Involving coworkers in the resolution process can make it more effective, Groebe adds. A peer review can lend validity to the company’s decision, possibly putting to rest the worker’s concerns that the company is unfairly targeting him or her.

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