Union Formations Are Possible At Your Workplace; How to Respond Appropriately in 2021

July 5, 2021

Employees on Strike Union Formations Are Expected as a Result of the PRO Act; Is Your Business Ready?

Congress has been keen to pass new labor law that is likely to reform the nature of work in the United States. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) will fundamentally change the relationship between manager and worker. At its core, the PRO Act offers more rights to workers, specifically in regard to union formations, allowing workforces the opportunity to organize and collectively bargain.

Managers and business owners will need to change their approach when attempting to prevent the formation of unions and do away with some of the tactics that were once acceptable. This labor reform is almost a hundred years in the making, and many employers across the manufacturing, oil, and logistics sectors will need to plan now for these changes.

Employees on Strike Union Formations and the Preventative Measures of the Past

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was enacted in 1935, gave workers the right to unionize but came with many caveats that business owners could use a multitude of tactics to encourage their workers not to form a union.

These tactics included right-to-work legislation in various states that would complicate union formations. Employers can quickly replace striking employees or threaten mass layoffs if they predict a possible union formation. In addition, independent contractor status has also been effective for maintaining lower wages over the years, avoiding the payment of benefits, and ensuring reduced rights.

Further, some companies have created anti-union campaigns within their workforce to prevent a union from forming. This typically would begin with managers keeping a close eye on workers’ behavior, limiting their means of communication, and identifying employees who are believed to be leading the creation of a union. These union leaders would be interviewed, questioned about such a formation, and pressured to stop their activities.

Other tactics that have been used in the past on behalf of managers such as actively spreading pro-company information, suggesting that the company can better serve employees on an individual basis. This tactic also included meetings with large workforces to effectively “force” their employees to take part in pro-company presentations in an effort to dissuade workers from formations.

These strategies have often been called “union-busting” and come with extensive fines and penalties. The best practice for addressing union formations are likely to change, and employers will need to carefully plan their response to these changes sooner rather than later.

Union Formations, Labor Reform, and Worker’s Rights Must Be Top of Mind for Managers

In the simplest form, the PRO Act gives extensive powers to workforces and the ability to form a union. The United States is expected to experience a labor reform that hasn’t been seen in close to 100 years, and employers will need to think on their feet to address the growing situation. A close read of the proposed changes that come with the PRO Act includes the nature of strikes, worker’s rights, and the classification of employees.

Employers will need to develop a close relationship with their workforces and be more responsive to their worker’s concerns in the coming future. The ability to influence workforces will change and require the careful examination of employees’ needs, the consultation of third-party organizations, and compensation to ensure that workers remain content with their jobs and aren’t inspired to create a union to push further change.

boardroom Address Union Formations and Other Complications with the Guidance of AFIMAC

The nature of the PRO Act is highly complicated and is best addressed with third-party consultants who can best advise employers on the next steps. Contentious labor negotiations, strikes, and walk-offs can put any company at risk, harming the bottom line and potentially halting productivity entirely.

Ensure that your business within the manufacturing, oil, logistics, or technology sector can navigate the complications of the PRO Act and remain compliant throughout the process. Trust the experience of AFIMAC to offer consultation services to help any business with upcoming labor relations issues, especially those tied to the PRO Act. The fine nuances of the PRO Act have far-reaching implications; get ahead before it is too late. Contact us directly to learn more.
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