Union Drive and Election

It is through the union drive an election that a union tries to be recognized to recognize to represent employees. This process followed in the Unite States has five basic steps.

Initial contact

During the initial contact stage, the union determines the employee’s interest in organizing and establishes an organizing committee.

The initiative for the first contact between the employees and the union may come from the employers from a union already representing other employees of the firm or from union representing workers elsewhere. In any case, there is an initial contact between union representatives and a few employees.

Once an employer becomes a target, a union official usually assigns a representative to assess employees’ interest. The representative visits the firm to determine whether enough employees are interested to make a union campaign worthwhile. He or she also identifies employees who would make good leaders in the organizing campaign and calls them together to create an organizing committee. The objective here is to educate the committee about the benefits of forming a union and the law and procedures involved in forming a local union.

The union must follow certain rules when it starts contacting employees. The law allows organizers to solicit employees for membership as long as the effort doesn’t endanger the performance or safety of the employees. Therefore much of the contact takes place off the job, for example at home or at eating places near work. Organizers can also safely contact employees on company grounds during of hours (such as lunch or break time). Yet in practice there will be much informal organizing going on at the workplace as employees’ debate the merits of organizing. In any case, this initial contact stage may be deceptively quiet. Sometimes the first inkling management has of the campaign is the distribution or posting of handbills soliciting union membership.

Technology for instance in the form of e-mail is important in the organizing process. However, preventing union employers form sending pro-union e-mail messages on company e-mail is easier said that done. Prohibiting only union e-mail messages on company e-mail is easier said than done. Prohibiting only union’s e-mail violate NLRB decisions. And instituting a rule barring workers from using e-mail for all non work related topics may also be futile if the company actually does little to stop e-mail other than pro-union messages.

Union salting

A Union organizing tactic by which workers that are in fact employed full time by a union as undercover organizers are hired by unwitting employers.

Unions are not without creative ways to win elections. The National Labor relations board defines union salting as placing of union members on nonunion job sites the purpose of organizing. However, critics Claim that salts also often interfere with business operations and harass employees. A U S supreme court decision held the tactic to be legal The US Supreme Court has also ruled that union salts are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and the NLRB will require that employers pay salts if they term for trying to organize the work place . For employers the solution is to make sure you know who you’re hiring.

However, employers must proceed with care. For instance the National Labor Relations Board concluded that an employer did commit an unfair labor practice by refusing to consider hiring nine members of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 520. Not hiring the people simply because as members of the local union they might be pro-union salts would be discriminatory.