LABOR RELATIONS GUIDE
NAME REMOVED FREIGHTWAYS AND UNIONIZATION
This is a basic guide to assist the supervisors and managers of Name Removed Freightways to avoid unionization and to ensure that we are all familiar with what we can and cannot do.
While avoiding the unionization of Name Removed Freightways is certainly a worthy goal, we should all continue to be very proactive in taking care of our employees. Our people are our greatest asset and should be treated as such. Treating our people with respect and taking their interest at heart should be a top priority. It belongs right up there with providing quality customer service. Taking care of our people ensures we have the type of environment that does not allow the union to obtain a foothold.
TAKE CARE OF OUR PEOPLE!!
PRECAUTIONS IN THE TERMINAL
LOCAL RULES TO PREVENT PROBLEMS
There are a few rules that all terminals should have. These rules prevent openings that allow the union to advertise in your terminal.
1. Control the bulletin boards.
Bulletin boards should be used for company business only. No one should be allowed to put up any kind of notices – no matter the purpose. This includes notices of items for sale, thank you cards, cartoons, clippings from the paper, and anything else that is not company business.
If you treat the bulletin like an open forum for your employees to use, they can legally do so. You may be giving your employees the right to put up notices from the union. Believe me, this is a critical issue.
2. Do not allow your people to wear anything other than Name Removed Freightways caps.
If you allow them to wear any other kind of cap with a written message or advertisement and you get into an organizing attempt, they can wear Teamster caps and legally you can not prevent them from doing so. The last thing you need is to have some of your employees wearing Teamster caps and not be able to do anything about it. What kind of a message is that sending to the rest of your people?
3. Do not allow your people to wear any other clothing with advertising or written messages.
The result is the same as the above. This is, again, a critical issue and one that is easy to find yourself in trouble over.
4. Post “No Soliciting” signs at the entrances to your terminal and do not allow soliciting of any kind.
If you allow people to solicit in your terminal, you may find yourself in court trying to explain why your open door policy does not apply to the Teamsters. That is one that we usually will win, but it may take going to court to do so.
5. Do not accept envelopes or pieces of paper from know union officials or strangers.
It is not uncommon for union officials to try to hand you signed cards or other organization material that mean you have legally been served notice. We do not want that to happen.
Admittedly, it is a difficult habit to cultivate, but you should do so and teach your supervisors to do the same.
If you do receive paperwork in this way or if someone just walks into your office and lays it on your desk, do not open or examine the material. If you are unable to get the person to take it back, it should be placed in a large envelope, sealed, and your Division V.P. notified immediately.
These may seem like very small issues, but believe me they are very important. Take all the steps above starting today.
Often after we find ourselves in union election campaign, we find ourselves wondering how in the world did we hired some of the people we now find as employees. When we examine their files, we may find some interesting common factors that surface again and again.
1. Teamster background.
These people worked for a company that was organized by the Teamsters. Not only did they enjoy the wages and benefits, they may have close relations with union business agents. This is true even of the ones who worked for truck lines such as Jones, Transcon, etc. who went bankrupt. They did not learn from that experience.
2. Other union background.
May have been a member of a union in another business such as U.P.S. or construction worker. They usually have the union “mentality” and we cannot expect that not to have an effect.
3. Financial problems.
People who are stretched to the limits financially, often fall prey to union promises of higher wages.
4. Job Hoppers.
These people usually have little loyalty to the Company. They are easily swayed by outsiders such as union organizers.
Self-ordained ministers, “Jesus freaks”, and people who intensely identify with a “cause”. For all their beliefs in the “cause” such people are often easily swayed by others and made to “see the light” for a new “cause”.
6. Family member works as a Teamster.
This may not always be a problem, but it is something that must be considered. What do you think they are hearing at home?
People with a higher education than the norm for their position are likely not to be as easily satisfied with their work. This is especially true if they have a past history of “failing” in white collar jobs.
These are just a few warning signs that we should be aware of as we screen potential employees. Be alert. The best chance we have at maintaining the superior workforce we now possess is by vigilance during the hiring process.
RECOGNIZING THE EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF UNIONIZATION
As long as there are Teamsters and the union around, there will be attempts to organize our people at Name Removed Freightways. Our drivers will always be subject to pressure and “sales” talks when they run into drivers for the unionized carriers. This will likely never go away and it means that we must always be proactive in our approach to keeping the union out.
In one way, we might think of the union as competition for Name Removed Freightways over our own people. That competition is good for us, just like competition for our customers is good for us because of the way it makes us provide better service for our customers. The efforts of the union to organize our people should make us more aware of the way we deal with and treat all Name Removed Freightways employees and in that knowledge, ensure we continue to take care of our people to the best of our ability. We must take care of our people!
As supervisors and managers, we must keep alert for any warning signs that may indicate more than the “usual” organizing activity. There are many things we can listen and watch for.
Union terms and buzzwords. Listen for such terms as “seniority”, “grievance”, “job posting”, “bumping”, “security”, etc.
Those words did not just appear from nowhere. Someone is using them and trying to “sell” our people.
Change in normal conversational topics. All at once our people are talking about pension plans, job security, seniority rights, etc. instead of the usual conservations about social and sporting events, and weekend activities.
There is obviously an attempt to stir interest in Name Removed Freightways benefits and work rules. It includes many false claims about how they can make it better.
Strange bedfellows. People who normally do not associate with each other start spending time together.
People who previously had nothing in common now find that unionization has brought them together for a common cause.
The nature of complaints change and their frequency increases. Comments and questions become increasingly critical. Often they are primarily directed at policies and benefits.
Again, others are putting words and doubts in their minds.
Group complaints begin. Rather than the usual one on one complaints, people begin to approach management in groups to complain or to use petitions.
This is another sign of the union mentality, collective action.
The emergence of a new leader. There are always “natural” leaders in all organizations. When, all at once, those leaders change, you should be alert.
This person could be a union plant or someone chosen to organize the terminal.
Development of two distinct groups. Obvious oppositional groups appear.
This occurs as organizational attempts strengthen. Our people divide into separate “camps” for and against the union.
Over-qualified applicants. One or more “unusual’ applicants apply for work at your terminal. These applicants may be obviously over-qualified or over educated for the jobs the are seeking.
These individuals may be union “plants” who, once hired, will begin serious organizational activities.
Once “friendly” employees stop talking. The people who usually are quick to greet you in the mornings and to stop and talk suddenly grow quiet and are no longer friendly.
This may be a sign of embarrassment for participating in or listening to the union organizers.
Drivers start questioning supervisors authority over route assignments, equipment assignments, overtime, etc. Some of this is normal, but you should be aware if this suddenly increases in frequency and in intensity.
This is another sign that they are being pushed to believe that they are being mistreated in these areas.
Groups stop talking at your approach. You should be concerned when people obviously grow quiet when you approach, especially when they stop and look at you and then quickly look away.
When they grow quiet, it is a fair assumption that they do not want to be overheard. When they also look at you and then quickly look away, it is likely that they are apprehensive about the conversation. That may very well mean the discussion was about the union.
Any activity that is a departure from the norm.
Keep alert for other signs. Awareness of others is critical not only for awareness of unionization attempts, but for all matters of concern that our people have. As Managers and supervisors, we have the obligation to stay close to our people, to listen to their concerns and to respond to them. That is part of taking care of our people and doing the right thing. As long as we do that, we do not give the union the opportunity to “get to” our people.
TAKE CARE OF OUR PEOPLE!!
WHAT SUPERVISORS CAN DO
1. Can keep outside organizer off premises.
2. Inform employees from time to time of the benefits they presently enjoy (avoid veiled promises or threats).
3. Inform employees that the signing of a union authorization card does not mean they must vote for the union if there is an election.
4. Inform employees of the disadvantages of belonging to the union, such as the possibility of strikes, serving in a picket line against other employees, dues, fines, assessments, and one-man or clique rules.
5. Inform employees that you prefer to deal with them rather than have the union or any other outsider settle employee grievances.
6. Inform employees what you think about unions and about union policies.
7. Inform employees about any prior experience you have had with unions and whatever you know about the union officials trying to organize them.
8. Inform employees that the law permits you to hire a new employee to replace any employee who goes on strike for economic reasons.
9. Inform employees that no union can obtain more than you, as an employer, are able or willing to give.
10. Inform employees that the local union probably will be dominated by the international union, and that they, the members, will have little to say in it’s operation.
11. Inform employees how their wages and benefits compare with unionized or non-unionized concerns, where wages are lower and benefits less desirable.
12. Inform employees of any untrue or misleading statements made by the organizer. You may give employees the correct facts.
13. Inform employees of known racketeering, Communist, or their undesirable elements which may be active in the union.
14. Give opinions on unions and union leaders, even in derogatory terms.
15. Distribute information about unions, such as disclosures of the McClellan Committee.
16. Reply to union attacks on Company policies or practices.
17. Give legal position on labor-management matters.
18. Advise employees of their legal rights, if the advice is accurate, even though it may be one-sided.
19. Declare a fixed policy in opposition to compulsory union membership contracts. (This does not apply in states which do not have a Right to Work law.)
20. Campaign against a union seeking to represent the employees.
21. Tell employees you do not like to deal with unions.
22. Administer discipline, layoffs, grievances, etc. without regard to the union membership or non-membership of the employee involved.
23. Treat both union and non-union employees alike in making assignments of preferred work, desired overtime, etc.
24. Enforce plant rules impartially, regardless of employees’ membership or activity in a union.
25. Tell employees if they ask, that they are free to join or not to join any organization, so far as their status with the Company is concerned.
WHAT SUPERVISORS CANNOT DO
1. Attend any union meetings, park across the street from the union hall to see which employees enter the hall, or engage in any undercover activity which would indicate that the employees are being kept under surveillance to determine who is and who is not participating in the union program.
2. Tell employees that the Company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activities.
3. Layoff or discharge any employee for union activity.
4. Grant employees wage increases or special concessions in order to keep the union out.
5. Bar employee union representative from soliciting employee memberships during non-working hours.
6. Ask employees about confidential union matters, meetings, etc. (Some employees may, of their own accord, walk up and tell of such matters. It is not an unfair labor practice to listen, but you must not ask questions to obtain additional information.)
7. Ask employees what they think about the union or a union representative.
8. Ask employees how they intend to vote.
9. Threaten employees with economic reprisal for participating in union activities. For example, threaten to move or close the business, curtail operations, reduce employee benefits.
10. Promise benefits to employees if they reject the union.
11. Give financial support or other assistance to a union or to employees, regardless of whether or not they are supporting or opposing the union.
12. Announce that you will not deal with the union.
13. Don’t ask employees whether or not they are supporting or opposing the union.
14. When you hire an employee, you cannot ask about his affiliation with a labor organization during the interview.
15. Make anti-union statements or actions that might show your preference for a non-union man.
16. Make distinctions between union and non-union employees when assigning overtime work or desirable jobs.
17. Purposely team up non-union people and keep them apart from those you think may belong to the labor organization.
18. Transfer workers on the basis of union affiliation or activity.
19. Choose employees to be laid off on the basis of weakening the union’s strength or discouraging membership in it.
20. Discriminate against union people when disciplining employees.
21. By word indicate that you would like to get rid of an employee because of his union activity.
22. Discipline union employees for an action and permit non-union employees to go unpunished for the same offense.
23. Deviate from Company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union man.
24. Take actions that adversely affect an employee’s job or any pay rate because of union activity.
25. Become involved in arguments that may lead to a physical encounter with an employee over the union question.
26. Threaten a union member through a third party.
27. Threaten your employees or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.
28. Promise employees a reward or a future benefit if they decide “no union”.
29. Tell employees that the Company will close down or move it’s plant..
30. Tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if plant is unionized.
31. Say unionization will force company to lay off employees.
32. Say unionization will take away vacations, or other benefits and privileges presently enjoyed.
33. Promise employees promotions, raises, or other benefits if they get out of the union or refrain from joining it.
34. Start a petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in it’s circulation if started by employees.
35. Urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it.