WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN

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During an organizing campaign Section 6 of the BC Labour Relations Code prohibits an employer or anyone acting on its behalf from:

  • Participating in or interfering with the formation of a union
  • Discharging, suspending, transferring, laying off or otherwise disciplining an employee who exercises their legal right to join a union.
  • Discharging, suspending, transferring, laying off, or otherwise disciplining an employee except for proper cause during a union certification drive
  • Imposing a condition in a contract of employment that attempts to restrain an employee from exercising their right to join a union
  • Threatening a penalty or promising a benefit to force an employee to refrain from becoming, or continuing to be, a member of a union

Usually when employees show interest in organizing a Union, the company responds with an anti-union program because most employers don't want their employees to join unions.

Some of the tactics your employer may use to try and undermine your resolve include...

Love Tactics

Scare Tactics

 

Love Tactics

"Give us a chance"

Employers may admit to making mistakes assuring that those mistakes will be remedied, and will never occur again. Management may send out "love letters," which formally apologize for any wrongdoings in the past, and make promises for a better future.


Bribes

Your employer may implement temporary changes or improvements in reaction to a union organizing campaign. These changes rarely last beyond the campaign because the employer has no reason to uphold them when the threat of a union goes away.


A Sudden Change in Attitude

The attitude of your employer towards you and your fellow workers might dramatically improve. Management is suddenly very concerned with showing you how much they appreciate and respect you as a member of the company. Activities, such as lunches, dinners and picnics, are organized for workers and their families - activities that did not exist before the union began the organizing campaign.


Why do they do this?

Because it keeps more money in their pockets! Buying you pizza or taking you bowling is much cheaper than the cost of providing you with proper safety equipment, giving you training, or increasing your wages or benefits.

 

Scare Tactics

Management Won't Listen to the Union

Management wants you to believe that workers coming together in a union have little power, and that, should the workplace become unionized, management won't bargain with the workers, or comply with the workers' contract. What management doesn't want you to know is that, by law, they must cooperate when workers form a union.


Threatening Your Benefits

It is against the law to threaten your benefits as punishment for supporting a union.


Pressuring Team Leaders and Supervisors

Management may pressure your supervisors to subtly, or not so subtly, spread anti-union messages around your workplace. Many times, supervisors will use their personal relationships with employees to manipulate and harass. Again, under BC law, management is not allowed to promote, recruit, or fund any form of anti-union committee.


We're a Family - We're a Team

Management might organize a mandatory meeting in order to spread an anti-union message throughout your workplace, emphasizing that the company is a family and should stand united against the union. It is not unusual for anti-union videos and other forms of propaganda to be shown at these meetings.


Strikes

The reality of strikes is that it's your choice. Unions will examine all other alternatives before a strike is deemed necessary. Statistically, less than 1 percent of thousands of UFCW negotiated contracts end in strikes. Only you and your coworkers can make the decision to strike.


It is all about the money

Your employer may attempt to frighten you with talk about all the money you will pay if you form a union. However, these claims are false. When workers come together to form a union at their workplace they aren't required to pay any of the costs associated with it. You will pay dues only when you have a contract. But dues bring large rewards in pay raises, benefits, job security, representation and working conditions. The added pay and benefits workers receive through belonging to the union are much more than the cost of union dues.


Anti-Union Consultants

Management may get so desperate that they hire highly paid union-busting consultants. These people are paid to keep workers from forming a union at any cost. Many times, employers pay these people as much as or more than it would cost to make workplace improvements that would benefit workers.

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