DON’T S.P.I.T.

General  Management  Rules  of  Engagement  
During  Union  Organizing  Campaigns

Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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LABOR RELATIONS DO’S & DON’TS
As  interpretations  of  labor  law  change  constantly,  if  your  company  is  
the  target  of  a  union  organizing  campaign,  you  should  seek  competent  
legal  counsel  immediately.
The  following  slides  are  for  general  management  guidance  during  union  
organizing  campaigns  and  should  NOT  be  construed  as  legal  advice.

Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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WHAT ARE EMPLOYEES’ RIGHTS UNDER
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT?
q Employee  rights  that  apply  to  unionized  and  non-­‐unionized  

workplaces:

§ Examples  of  employee   rights  include  (but  not  limited   to):
§ Forming,  or  attempting  to  form,  a  union  in  a   workplace;
§ Joining  a  union  whether  the  union  is  recognized  by  an  employer  or  not;
§ Assisting  a  union  in  organizing  fellow  employees;
§ Refusing  to  do  any  or  all   of  these  things.
§ To  be  fairly  represented  by  a  union

Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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WHAT ARE EMPLOYEES’ RIGHTS UNDER
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT?
q Employee  rights  that  apply  to  non-­‐unionized  workplaces:
§ Examples  of  Protected  Concerted  Activity
§ A  few  examples  of  protected  concerted  activities  are:
§ Two  or  more  employees  addressing  their  employer  about  improving  
their  pay.
§ Two  or  more  employees  discussing  work-­‐related  issues  beyond  pay,  
such  as  safety  concerns,  with  each  other.
§ An  employee  speaking  to  an  employer  on  behalf  of  one  or  more  co-­‐
workers  about  improving  workplace  conditions.

Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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WHAT IS AN “AGENT” OF THE COMPANY?
• If  you  are  a  “supervisor”  (or  “manager”),  you  are  considered  an  
“agent”  of  the  employer
• As  such,  you  should  be  aware  of  what  employer  agents  are  
allowed  to  do  or  say during  union  election  campaigns,  as  well  
as  what  you  are  not  allowed  to  do  or  say.

Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2 015

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GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYER AGENTS
• Remember…
• There  are  no  “off-­‐the-­‐record”  conversations



On  the  job
Off  the  job
Around  the  water  cooler…
Around  the  Thanksgiving  table…

• Even  “among  friends”  (and  relatives)

Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2 015

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HOW TO ENGAGE…
qEasy  to  Remember:  Don’t  S.P.I.T.
qEmployer  agents  should  not:

§
§
§
§

Spy  (or  create  the  impression  of  Surveillance)
Promise
Interrogate
Threaten

§

Also,  don’t  initiate  conversations  in  coercive environments…
Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2 015

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HOW TO ENGAGE…
Other  “red  flag”  terms  to  stay  away  from…
• “Bargaining  starts…
§ …From  ground  zero…”
§ …With  a  blank  sheet  of  paper…”
§ …From  scratch…”
Not  only  are  these  incorrect,  these  phrases  
are  also  construed  as  threats  by  the  NLRB…
Also,  do  not  “solicit”  grievances…
Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2 015

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HOW TO ENGAGE…
A  COUPLE  OF  OTHER  “NO  NO’S”
Do  NOT…
• ASK  QUESTIONS  (INTERROGATE):
• Just  remove  question  marks  [?]  from  your  vocabulary…
Also,  don’t  use  the  “economic  pie”  argument  when  
talking  about  labor  costs.  Even  if  it’s  true,  the  NLRB  
views  that  as  objectionable  speech  (futility).

Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

Wages

Benefits

Time  Off 9 Other

THINGS YOU CAN DO…

•Go  with  the  F.L.O.E.

•Give FACTS to  employees
•LISTEN to  employees
•Give OPINIONS to  employees
•Give EXAMPLES (or  Experiences)
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HELPFUL TIPS
• Stay  away  from  predictive  statements.  
• Often,  phrases  like  “_________  will happen…”  (which  is  a  predictive  
statement)  are  viewed  as  threats  by  the  NLRB  if  they  involves  a  negative  
consequence  of  unionization.
• Use  phrases  that  are  factual when  explaining  possibilities,  such  as:  “may,”  
“could,”  “possibly,”  etc.
• When  referring  to  the  possible  outcomes  of  collective  bargaining,  it  is  always  
wisest  to  hit  all possible  factual  outcomes,  that  “it  is  possible  you  could  get  
more  wages  and  benefits,  you  could  stay  the  same,  or  you  could  lose.”
Copyright.  WorkPlaceReport.com  2 015

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EXAMPLES OF FACTUAL STATEMENTS…
1. “Union  organizers  are  legally  allowed  to  make  you  promises  they  
cannot  guarantee…”

“If  you  fall  for  union  promises,  you  might  not  be  able  to  do  anything  if  
they  later  break  their  promises.”

2. “A  union  could  require  you  to  pay  union  dues  (under  a  union  security  
clause)  or  have  you  fired  if  you  refuse  to  pay…”
• [Only  applies  to  states  that  do  not  have  Right-­‐to-­‐Work  laws.]

3. “If  you  are  unionized,  you  could go  out  on  strike…”
4. “Union-­‐called  strikes  do  occur  across  the  U.S.  every  year…”
6. “As  a  union  member,  the  union  can put  you  on  trial  for  violating  the  
union’s  rules…”
• “If  you’re  found  guilty  at  a  union  trial,  the  union  could fine  you  
money…”
Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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A REMINDER
As  interpretations  of  labor  law  change  constantly,  if  your  company  is  
the  target  of  a  union  organizing  campaign,  you  should  seek  competent  
legal  counsel  immediately.
The  previous  slides  are  for  general  management  guidance  during  union  
organizing  campaigns  and  should  NOT  be  construed  as  legal  advice.
For  more  information,  as  well  as  a  listing  of  law  firms,  
go  to  the  Resources  page  at  WorkPlaceReport.com

Copyright.   WorkPlaceReport.com  2015

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