Union Busting: What Employers Can and Cannot Legally Do | Summary and Q&A

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August 29, 2022
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Bloomberg Law
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Union Busting: What Employers Can and Cannot Legally Do

TL;DR

Unionization efforts in the private sector are on the rise, putting labor laws and company practices in the spotlight.

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Key Insights

  • 💪 Unionization efforts in the private sector are at their strongest in years, indicating a resurgence in organized labor.
  • 🖐️ The National Labor Relations Board plays a crucial role in overseeing union elections and resolving disputes, but criticism exists regarding its limited tools for enforcing its decisions.
  • 👻 Captive audience meetings, while legally allowed, can be seen as coercive and may influence employees' decision on unionization.
  • 🤩 Reputation and brand image are becoming key factors in companies' approaches to unionization efforts.

Transcript

from starbucks to capitol hill congress took a major step by allowing some of its own staffers to unionize organized labor is having a resurgence the unionization efforts that we're seeing in this country probably the strongest that we've seen in several years if not decades the increased interest in unionizing is also putting labor laws in the spo... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are some hardball tactics employers cannot use under labor law to deter unionization?

Under labor law, employers cannot interrogate, surveil, or threaten employees in their efforts to prevent unionization. These actions are considered unfair labor practices and are illegal.

Q: Can employers share their thoughts on the potential outcomes of unionization?

Employers can legally share their thoughts, opinions, and insights on what might happen if a union is established in the workplace. However, this can be subjective and may lead to legal disputes.

Q: What are some examples of language that may violate labor laws when deterring unionization?

Employers cannot directly threaten employees, such as saying, "I will cut your health benefits if you vote for this union." Language that implies consequences for voting for a union can potentially violate labor laws.

Q: Can a single tweet against unionization result in legal consequences?

Yes, even a single tweet can potentially violate labor laws. Elon Musk, for example, has been criticized by the labor board for tweeting against the United Auto Workers' unionization efforts at his California plant.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Congress allows some of its own staffers to unionize, signaling a major step in the resurgence of organized labor.

  • The increased interest in unionizing is shining a spotlight on labor laws, with the National Labor Relations Board ruling against Amazon for unfair influence over union outcomes.

  • Employers have limitations on what they can do to deter unionization, but the use of language and captive audience meetings can blur the lines of legality.

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