Employee benefits cost enough as it is. And those costs could escalate rapidly – if a union gets a foothold in your organization.
To stay afloat as the economy struggles to rebound, many businesses have been forced to cut employee benefits (20% made cuts in the last six months alone, according to SHRM).
The danger: Cutbacks attract union organizers like sharks to blood.
And while organizers circle, they remain stealthy. So before you can begin to stymie organizing efforts, your managers/supervisors have to be able to spot them.
Besides the obvious signs — union cards/fliers popping up and rumors of union meetings — here are some things your supervisors should be on the lookout for today:
- Employees gathering co-worker contact info.
- Increased complaints — that include terms like “grievance,” “past practice” and “arbitration.”
- Unusual interest in company policy, employee handbooks or employee benefit plans.
- Strangers or discharged employees starting to hang around your facility.
- Employees stop talking immediately when a manager/supervisor walks into the room.
- Upticks in heated discussions/employee defiance.
- High sensitivity among employees for recent management decisions.
- Union activity at nearby businesses.
- Employees who were once chatty with supervisors suddenly become distant.
- New employee alliances begin to form.
Of course, if one of these occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean unions are lurking. But managers and supervisors should be trained to report these signs regardless of the severity. From there it’s HR’s job to follow up before the situation escalates into a full-blown union invasion.