Organizing a Union: Activities & Tactics

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  • 0:02 Union Organization
  • 0:27 Card Checks
  • 1:16 Union Salting
  • 2:14 Company Tactics
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

Unions have methods of organizing in the workplace without a government supervised closed ballot election. Let's take a look at these methods and how companies can attempt to counter these attempts at labor organization.

Union Organization

A labor union of grocery workers is attempting to get the employees of Dave's Fresh Groceries to join. By joining the union, the employees will be represented as a group under a collective bargaining agreement with Dave's Fresh Groceries management and union representatives. In the lesson ahead, we will look at two of the main union organizing activities along with some of the tactics a company can use to prevent or delay union organization.

Card Checks

Dave's Fresh Groceries may choose to recognize the organization of a union if the union conducts a successful card check. In a card check, union organizers attempt to get the majority of the employees to sign a statement saying they agree to union representation.

This is an alternative method to the secret ballot election method overseen by the government agency responsible for certifying union representation, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression as the National Labor Board; today under its current name it supervises the legal framework to certify and decertify unions through elections as well as facilitate dispute settlements, decide cases, and enforce orders through the court system. Businesses are free to use the NLRB processes or agree on their own to work with the unions to organize.

Union Salting

The grocery workers' union may also attempt to organize the employees at Dave's Fresh Groceries by using a tactic called salting. Salting is when the union sends a union member to get a job with Dave's while keeping the union membership a secret. Once hired on, that employee begins encouraging other current employees to advocate for a union. Finally, the salted employee makes attempts to get fired. Once terminated, the former employee and the union sue Dave's for unfair labor practices by alleging that the termination was because of union membership.

Other more open methods of salting include sending a union member to a job interview who is clearly identifiable as a member. When the employer fails to hire the applicant, the union sues for unfair labor practices because the decision was made over a hat or button the applicant wore. Another possibility is for the union to bombard the employer with applications from multiple union members clearly known to be a part of the union. If the applicants are denied an interview or ultimately not hired, another lawsuit option presents itself.

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