RANT: Don’t Believe The Hype When It Comes to NLRB Claims…

In cased you missed it, Amazon workers voted in a union election last week, ultimately saying no to union representation by a vote of 21-6.  Obviously a small unit for a vote, which is the topic for a whole other post.  

Also - lots of bluster about unfair labor practices by Wal-Mart as they seek to remain union free.  See more on that here, as people are actually saying that these leaked slides detailing a pretty basic strategy to remain union free represent something illegal or immoral by Wal-Mart.

Look at the slides. Illegal?  Immoral?  To quote John McEnroe, "you have got to be kidding me".

Neutrality when it comes to union organizing is on the wish list of any and all unions.  Here's your defintion of what neutrality means and the one of the most important facets of neutrality, known as the gag rule:

A 'neutrality agreement" is a contract between a union and an employer under which the employer agrees to support a union's attempt to organize its workforce. Although these agreements come in several different forms, common provisions include the gag rule.  While most neutrality agreements purport to merely require an employer to remain 'neutral," in reality they impose a gag order on speech not favorable to the union. A company, including its managers and supervisors, are prohibited from saying anything negative about the union or unionization during an organizing drive. Employees are only permitted to hear one side of the story: the version the union officials want employees to hear.

Some companies with a mixture of represented and non-represented employees actually give in and provide a neturality agreement with the gag rule as part of a labor agreement in a represented area of their business.  That means in exchange for a favorable contract on the represented side, they agree to not defend themselves against organizing on the non-represented or union-free side.

But let's be clear.  The law allows employers to engage employees and share their views of the downsides of unions and representation.  In general, companies and managers representing those companies can share Facts, Opions and their own Experiences with unions.  They can't threaten ramifications or promise anything for support against a union, but facts, opinions or experiences?  All fair game.  Look at the slides linked to in the second paragraph.  Simple, legal stuff.

Don't believe the hype when it comes to news reports and allegations that companies like Wal-Mart act unfairly when responding to union threats.  They've got the ability to tell their side of the story and to tell it aggressively.  

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