Actions That Employers Use to Discourage Employees from Joining Unions

The United State’s National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) provides legislation that governs and provide for the rights of employees to form and join labor unions while at the same time providing an environment for collective dialogue between employees and employers (National Labor Relations Act, 2010). The NLRA provides for “the right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection” (National Labor Relations Act, 2010).
A critical amendment to the act in 1947 popularly referred to as the Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947, provided loopholes where employers could ‘legally’ violate the right for the employees to either join or be actively involved in the activities of the labor organizations (Delpo & Guerin, 2009). Data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) point directly to the fact that there is significant evidence that employers violate workers rights to be unionized.
It is also disheartening to note that some of the tactics employed by employers to deter workers from labor organizations fall within legal boundaries, while some tactics fall in the grey areas of the law, which are simply legal provisions that can not be explicitly interpreted or implemented. This paper will discuss some of the tactics used by employers to discourage workers from forming or joining labor organizations. Presented herein are also some of the effects that this may have to the employer. Threats of workers being discharged from their duties or actual lay-offs are the most common tactics used by employers.

A study based on the Chicago Representation Campaign (CRC) in 2002 indicates that approximately 30% of employers discharged their workers from their duties for either joining or participation in labor organization activities (National Labor Relations Act, 2010). These statistics seem to be replicated elsewhere around the world, at least according to the study carried out by Bronfenbrenner in 2000. In this particular survey, workers’ jobs have been terminated in at least 25% of campaigns worldwide (National Labor Relations Act, 2010).
The ill motivation behind such acts of firing workers is to create fear within the existing workforce with the sole aim of discouraging participation in labor organizations. A significant number of employers issue ‘plant-closing’ or relocation threats in order to discourage employees from supporting unions (Delpo & Guerin, 2009). In this age of global financial and economic instability, employers seem to be justified when they inform their employees on possible organizational restructuring, cuts in production or even eminent closures.
Some of these restructuring strategies are however aimed at discouraging workers from participation in union activities. Such threats will more often than not make even the most committed unionized worker withdraw support from unions. In a bid to undermine the efforts of employees joining labor organizations, some employers do promise their employees that working conditions would improve significantly (Delpo & Guerin, 2009). Similarly, some employers even go out of their way to offer special favors that might entice their employees, for instance some initiate unplanned salary increments for their employees.
When such promises of better working conditions and salary increments are coupled with other anti-union campaigns by the employers, increased rates of withdrawal from labor organizations are usually realized. More standardized and seemingly formulaic approaches are now being used by employers in their ever non-relenting bid to deter workers from becoming unionized. One of such approaches has been the use of outside consultants and law firms to press their anti-union agenda.
In Chicago for instance, at least 82% of employers were shown to have used either a law firm or a labor relations consultant for this course in the year 2002 (Delpo & Guerin, 2009). Many workers are of the opinion that this strategy has become successful due resources and expertise dedicated to the anti-union campaigns. Would the employer ultimately benefit by discouraging employees from joining labor unions? In my opinion, the employer will not benefit. One integral pillar in effective service delivery by workers in any institution is job satisfaction by the employee.
Such satisfaction stems from the ability of the employee to freely participate in legal and constructive activities, including participation in labor organizations. Employees are well aware that it is their legal right to form or join labor organizations since it is through such organizations that their rights at the workplaces are guaranteed. When a situation arises that seems impede them from exercising such rights, then employees will automatically drag in service delivery at the workplace, either through go-slows at work or even strikes.
These strained relationships impact negatively on the activities of the institution, for instance they might result in low production and missed targets. In conclusion, it is unconstitutional to deny individuals their rights, including the right to association. Appropriate amendments on labor legislations that are geared towards overseeing the welfare of the employees should also be put in place. References Delpo, A. , & Guerin, L. (2009). The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws. Berkeley: Nolo. National Labor Relations Board. (2010). National Labor Relations: What we DO. Retrieved May 17, 2010, from http://www. nlrb. gov/

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New York University

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