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As the HR manager for a two-hundred-person company, you tend to have a pretty good sense of employee morale. Recently, you are concerned because it seems that morale is low, because of pay and the increasing health benefit costs to employees. You discuss these concerns with upper-level management, but owing to financial pressures, the company is not able to give pay raises this year.
One afternoon, the manager of the marketing department comes to you with this concern, but also with some news. She tells you that she has heard talk of employees unionizing if they do not receive pay raises within the next few months. She expresses that the employees are very unhappy and productivity is suffering as a result. She says that employees have already started the unionization process by contacting the National Labor Relations Board and are in the process of proving 30 percent worker interest in unionization. As you mull over this news, you are concerned because the organization has always had a family atmosphere, and a union might change this. You are also concerned about the financial pressures to the organization should the employees unionize and negotiate higher pay. You know you must take action to see that this doesn’t happen. However, you know you and all managers are legally bound by rules relating to unionization, and you need a refresher on what these rules are. You decide to call a meeting first with the CEO and then with managers to discuss strategy and inform them of the legal implications of this process. You feel confident that a resolution can be developed before the unionization happens.
The author introduces the chapter on labor unions.