WORKERS TAKE UP THE ANTI-UNION BANNER

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: In Columbus, Mississippi, permanent replacement workers have taken up the anti-union banner: they want to decertify the union at Omnova Solutions, Inc., a maker of upholstery products.

A petition for decertification has been filed; and after a four-to-six week period awaiting approval of the petition by the NLRB, more than 100 workers could vote in a secret ballot election to make the company non-union, following a year-long strike that has had a negative effect on the company’s bottom line.

This is another example of American workers being fed up with unrealistic union demands, especially during a period of high unemployment when workers are desperate to earn a living, to pay their expenses, and put food on dinner tables. Only high-handed union officials seem unconcerned with the day-to-day problems of the unemployed. It’s time for all American workers to say no to unionization and yes to full employment.

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ORGANIZE TODAY, WIN TOMORROW?

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: For several months, I have been writing that the NLRB has been looking for ways to do an end run around the mis-named Employee Free Choice Act. Ideologically disposed to providing whatever support it can to unions, the NLRB's latest intention is to endorse quickie elections to hasten union representation. The time from petition to election usually takes 38 days. However, Mark Pearce, a Board member, would like to shorten that period of time to between five and ten days, which is what exists in Canada. In order for employers to present their side of the unionization story, to educate their employees to what they will be losing if they vote for union representation, they need sufficient time to communicate facts and concepts to employees. And because union organizers usually operate in secret, employers will not know that their employees have been the targets of union propaganda until a petition has been filed. Five to ten days will hardly be adequate time for management to present its case. After all, the union organizers may have been propagandizing workers for weeks, if not months. A quickie election is indeed an end round around the dormant Employee Free Choice Act. Instead of card checks, union authorization cards will lead to petitions which will lead to quickie elections. Five days later, a union will be in place. Say hello to the Employee Free Choice Act in disguise. It is, therefore, essential that Corporate America pro-actively develop strategies for defeating such scenarios. And the time for doing so is Now!

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THE NLRB'S PRO-UNION STRATEGY

From the desk of Stephen Cabot The presidency of Barack Obama has produced a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that is decidedly pro-union and anti-business. The president’s appointees to the Board have made their ideological positions well known, and those positions are the reverse of what existed under President George W. Bush. The most vociferous advocate for organized labor on the Board is Craig Becker, but there are others who are equally committed to giving every possible benefit to unions. And together, they are a powerful majority who share the same goals: to increase union membership. Corporate America can now expect a powerful barrage of NLRB actions that will enhance the ability of unions to win battles and enlist workers in the army of organized labor. The NLRB will make it increasingly difficult for companies to educate workers against the potential injuries associated with unionization; companies will find it increasingly difficult to decertify unions; they will have to accept electronic voting instead of secret paper ballot voting. And more: unions have now been granted the right to hoist and display anti-business banners that can intimidate management not only at organizing targets, but also at companies that do business with the those being targeted by organizers. And it’s not just banners: businesses can be harassed by noisy demonstrators carrying loudspeakers, blowing horns and whistles, and shouting at passersby. And most insidiously, the Board is soon expected to permit workers to use their employers’ computers to send pro-union e-mails to their colleagues. In effect, companies will no longer have the right to restrict employee use of company-owned computers. It will be a computer virus that no spyware will be able to prevent.

The NLRB is obviously creating a Brave New World for union organizers. And Corporate America will be the unfortunate victim. It is, therefore, essential that management immediately put in place proactive labor relations survival strategies. Not to do so will prove self-destructive. One should not wait for the enemy to attack; one should have defense mechanisms in place to prevent those attacks from ever succeeding. Aggressive organizers are now drawing up plans to rouse one’s workers to bite the hands that feed them!

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