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Union Avoidance: Reasons, Factors & Strategies

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  • 0:04 Union Avoidance
  • 0:53 Non-Union Approaches…
  • 3:15 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.

Companies employ specific strategies to thwart unionization. In this lesson, we'll explore union avoidance and factors and strategies that go along with it.

Union Avoidance

Let's say we have a company called Garolla Manufacturing. Garolla has never been unionized. The company engages in a practice called union avoidance. Union avoidance is a multi-faceted strategy that management undertakes to avoid unionization. Garolla has two important reasons why it doesn't want to be unionized.

First, Garolla wants to hire and fire employees at will. Having a union involved in these decisions is not something the company wants because it's costly and time consuming. Second, there is more profit in having a nonunion company. Unions want to share in the wealth, and Garolla wants to keep the profit for shareholders. So far, Garolla has been successful at keeping the union away from its workers. Let's look into what makes Garolla less vulnerable to unionization than other companies.

Non-Union Approaches to Avoidance

Companies like Garolla employ a specific road map for evading unionization. Let's look at what Garolla has done to dodge any thought that employees might have in unionizing.

Keeping wages, the cash amount paid to labor, comparative or even higher than the competition is necessary to keep unions at bay. It's important for a company to provide wages based on education, experience, seniority, and any relevant qualifications. Garolla compares wages to industry standards and adds 10% so its payroll stays above the competition.

A company also needs to consider nonwage policies, compensation provided to employees that has worth but is not cash. Garolla provides bonds to employees at five-year intervals to reward seniority. Gym memberships, wellness programs, parking spaces, computer equipment, and educational discounts are also nonwage policies put together by Garolla.

Employment security, making employees feel secure in keeping their jobs, is something that unions are very good at promoting. Union contracts are specific about seniority, severance packages, and the process for severing employment ties. Garolla has worked to create a reciprocal employment relationship, where employees feel invested in their employment. By offering flexible hours, telework, and benefits that support a work-life balance, Garolla employees feel they are producing something unique for their employer, while employees expect employment security in return.

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