Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Union organizers are at the facility across the street. 

How would you handle the situation? 

You’re a supervisor, and you’ve heard there is organizing activity going on at the shop across the street. What do you do? 

Maybe your first thought is to ask some people on your floor to see if the union has made any attempts at your place. In the back of your mind, you may also recall a strange acronym that you learned from your labor guru and some training videos. Let’s see: "Should I call somebody at headquarters or just go for it, be the one that’s ‘in the know’ and look like a hero?" Hmmm 

You come to the conclusion that it would be best to see if you can find that DVD or the link you were given awhile back . . . the one that had the labor training on it and your notes from the meeting.

TIPS. Yeah, that’s it. Threaten, Interrogate, Promise, Spy. TIPS. Got it. 

Threat: Don’t make threats. Never say something like, "They’ll shut us down if the union is voted in."

Interrogate: Don’t ask anyone about their personal involvement with the union or any other questions about union activity. 

Promise: Don’s ever promise something like increased benefits, or a raise if employees vote against the union. 

Spy: Don’t spy. And don’t say anything to make employees think that you’re spying on them. 

TIPS. Okay, that tells me what I can’t do. But how about what I can do. 

Here it is: FORE. 

First, state the Facts. 

Second, share my Opinions about the issue. Don’t hold back. My team needs to know what I think about the issue. 

Third, Rules. It’s okay to talk about all the rules that a union imposes and how they slow down the flexibility of the company often when it needs it the most.

Fourth, share my Experiences about issues or the experiences of others that I’m sure are accurate.

TIPS and FORE. Great. I can do this. I just wish I had some more examples to follow. Wait a minute. I do. They’re on that DVD or the link, the one with the sample conversations. Now I can look like a hero. 

We know it's very important to you to have your supervisors well trained so they know how to respond to situations. We also know that if the supervisor does not know how to respond to a question, he needs to find an answer within hours. If it takes too long, it looks as if the answer is not as valid. 

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Thanks for reading my blog.

Matt French
First Cut Communications, LLC
AGTS, Inc.