Company Strategic Planning for Union Management

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  • 0:05 What Is a Strategic Plan?
  • 1:01 Strategic Planning Choices
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Loy

Dr. Loy has a Ph.D. in Resource Economics; master's degrees in economics, human resources, and safety; and has taught masters and doctorate level courses in statistics, research methods, economics, and management.

In this lesson, we look at company strategic planning and the difference between union and non-union companies. We also explore potential strategic planning choices depending on a company's situation.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

Lou recently took a position with a company that is unionized, Northeast Steam Mills (NSM). The company produces energy from coal. Because of tighter environmental regulations, the company's production has shrunk. Lou has been brought in to develop a strategic plan for the company.

A strategic plan is a way in which a company designs a method to achieve its mission and creates ways to enhance that mission. Although there are variations on how to create a strategic plan, Lou will align the mission statement with areas for success, goals, strategies to meet the goals, and a timeline for implementation. In the planning process, a company would develop its strengths and review its weaknesses. This plan is also something that would be shared with stakeholders, shareholders, and key personnel.

Lou previously worked for a nonprofit, which was not unionized. Let's see what strategy options he has to pull from to develop a strategic plan.

Strategic Planning Choices

The most obvious difference between union and non-union strategic planning is one that involves dealing with a union. Let's look specifically at strategic planning choices Lou has to consider.

Union suppression is when management uses tactics to weaken an existing union, which are included in a strategic plan. Lou could find ways to:

  • Report illegal acts by the union
  • Refuse to bargain
  • Put roadblocks up during arbitration
  • Support strikes
  • Threaten bankruptcy

Union avoidance as a part of strategic planning involves management finding ways to keep unions out of a workplace. When trying to avoid unionization, this is usually a top-priority strategy. The goal is for employees to see a union as unnecessary. Tactics that are common to include in a strategic plan are:

  • Keeping wages and benefits higher than the competition
  • Forbidding solicitations on company time and property
  • Assuring employees that their jobs are secure
  • Having ways for employees to voice concerns
  • Providing positive feedback to employees so they feel vested in the company

Because Lou's workplace is already unionized, he won't be able to use a union avoidance strategy.

Union substitution exists when companies find other alternatives that simulate having a union in the workplace. If NSM were not unionized, he could look to implement the following as a part of the strategic plan:

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