The following is for union-free employers of all stripes and sizes, as well as those unionized employers who have been saddled and ham-strung with a dues-collecting parasite...
Do you ever wonder what today's union organizers have to sell these days that makes the union alluring to vulnerable workers?
Do you ever wonder why unionized workers think there's value in the hundreds of dollars in union dues they pay every year to union bosses?
Given a plethora of overwhelming evidence that today's unions have been complicit in the devastation of jobs and entire industries, it does sometimes seem rather peculiar that anyone but the most needy of workers would be attracted to an institution that often causes more harm than good, more illness than cure.
In a word, it's "protection"....Or, rather, it's the perception of protection that seduces many workers into listening to the union's sales pitch.
More precisely, it's the perception of protection from the omnipresent "employment-at-will" doctrine.
Without going into a long diatribe on the English Common Law origins of employment-at-will and the fact that "at will" employment doesn't truly exist anymore, suffice it to say that most people are not fully informed when it
comes to the laws governing the workplace.
On the one hand, during organizing campaigns, unions convince workers that, without the union, the employer can fire the workers "at will."
On the other hand, during decertification campaigns, it's the same thing: "Without the union, the Company's going to fire you 'cause you're just going to be an 'at will' employee."
Of course, it's a union scare tactic and, while it is union B.S. (more urban legend than anything else), it is very effective on workers who are unaware of all the state and federal laws that provide them workplace protection.
Beware of the big, bad bogeyman! Without the union, the bogeyman's going to get you!
Eeek! [Editor's note: Employers, if you haven't figured it out yet, you are the bogeyman.]
Like all fairy tales, however, there's usually a grain of truth behind every urban legend--a horror story of some fired worker to give some small credence to the myth that workers need a union. But with over five million employers of all shapes and sizes in these United States, to say that there are no vagabonds out there would be misleading.
Added to the perception perpetrated on workers by union is the fact that most of today's employers have unfortunately been forced to add "Employment-At-Will" statements into their employee handbooks (usually on the very first page).
That said, most unionized employers know full well that, even with a union, it is often all-too-easy to fire a unionized worker...That is, so long as management is doing its job properly.
And, if truth be told, most union representatives would readily admit (as long as you don't quote them on it) that most workers don't really need unions to protect them, it's usually just the "slugs," the "mutants," the "bottom ten-percenters," that really need protecting (usually from themselves).
So what, then does the union really offer to workers that makes them alluring to workers?
To answer that question, one must understand that in a union contract the Company almost always retains the right "to discipline and discharge employees for just cause." The key is the last two words of that sentence: Just Cause.
What is "just cause"?
Just cause is a principle dating back to the late 1960s when an arbitrator named Carroll Daugherty outlined seven principles (or steps) that an employer should use when disciplining or discharging a worker.
In a unionized environment, a union can usually only get the upper hand on management in a disciplinary grievance if management hasn't followed the Principles of Just Cause.
Unfortunately, many unionized employers don't spend enough time training their first-level supervisors on these principles. If they did, unions would win fewer grievances and, as a result, the myth of union job security would not be so prevalent in the minds of workers.
If non-unionized employers followed the Principles of Just cause when disciplining or discharging workers, it would make a union organizer's job security argument less enticing to union-free workers, as well as potentially lower the employer's susceptibility to employment-related lawsuits.So, you ask, just what are these Principles of Just Cause?
Well, without further ado, here are The Seven Principles of Just Cause (aka Daugherty's Seven Questions):
- Was the employee forewarned of the consequences of his or her actions? Have the Company’s rules and/or policies been clearly communicated either in writing or verbally?...Or are you trying to "keep 'em in the dark"?
- Are the employer's rules reasonably related to business efficiency and performance the employer might reasonably expect from the employee? In other words, if you're disciplining an employee for refusing an unsafe act, or something immoral (whether or not it's with an animal), the discipline probably won't pass the smell test.
- Was an effort made before discipline or discharge to determine whether the employee was guilty as charged? Was an investigation conducted?...Or, are you shooting first and asking questions after the fact?
- Was the investigation conducted fairly and objectively?
- Did the employer obtain substantial evidence of the employee's guilt? You really don't need to conduct DNA testing on every piece of chewing gum stuck in your keyboard if you caught the 'perp' red-handed.
- Were the rules applied fairly and without discrimination? If you're letting your wife's sister's cousin get away with something (like sticking chewing gum in your keyboard), but hanging the geek in the mail room for the same offense, you're showing favoritism and that's no good...Ya'll better be hanging them both...or letting 'em both off the hook.
- Was the degree of discipline reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee's offense and the employee's past record? If the geek has been with you for ten years and has a clean record, firing him for a first offense is probably a little too harsh.
That's it. Those are the infamous Seven Principles of Just Cause. That's the little secret that all unions use to varying degrees to convince workers that unions are somehow relevant or justified in today's society (despite evidence to the contrary).
Pretty darn simple, isn't it??? Why then, do unions seem to have a monopoly on this?
Like most good management techniques, it's all common sense. And, while some attorneys may balk at the thought of this, we strongly recommend using these Seven Principles when disciplining any (or all) workers--union or non-union. It's safer, it's cleaner...Hell, it's an eco-friendly management technique.
In fact, if your company is union-free and you use progressive discipline, along with the aforementioned Seven Principles of Just Cause, you'll go a long way in keeping your company union-free as it will lessen the B.S. a union organizer can throw at your employees.
If you're unionized and your management team uses Just Cause , you'll likely receive less grievances from the union.
That said, it really is simple, common-sense management that too many employers either don't know about or under utilize.
Now that you know it, use it...
How's that for free advice?
For more union-related information, go to EmployerReport.com