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High-profile cases put spotlight on union organizing

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“So it’s hard to write a policy nowadays, a handbook that will survive the scrutiny of the new board,” said Boonin. “Employers don’t want to fight or litigate – some companies would go broke. They’re too small to take on a case and appeal the National Labor Relations, to the Court of Appeals, and then the Supreme Court, it takes a lot of money. So employers are intimidated by this. But it just means that, hopefully, you have HR professionals who are keeping track of all this, and who have their lawyers on their speed dials.”

Preventative action to head off union organizing before it starts

In Detroit, Michigan this week, United Auto Workers (UAW) is threatening a strike against General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis (the company that owns Fiat, Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands), Forbes reported — due to supply-chain issues stemming from the pandemic, and the advance of electric car sales, carmakers have “about one-fifth” of 2019 inventory, leaving dealers more vulnerable to a strike.

According to an analysis by Anderson Economic Group, if the UAW strikes against all “big three” car manufacturers, the industry could see a loss of $3,511 million within days.

What advice does Boonin have for HR? Listen and communicate, before a strike is necessary, he said, so “the employees understand there’s a reason there’s a lot of overtime, or there’s a reason that there’s layoffs, or other changes, or use of more automation … in an ideal world, be a little more a part of the process,” said Boonin.

“One of the things that always pops up in terms of dissatisfaction is that ‘No one listens to us.’ I’m not sure you can please all the people all the time, but I think if more attention is paid to listen to the employees and communicating with the employees, about what’s going on and why, then that will help manage those expectations, so that it doesn’t take a strike in order for them to get the message.”

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