Warning: Unions Are Organizing Technicians at Car Dealerships
As many of you know, Art Silbergeld, Attorney-at-Law, has focused his thirty-five year practice representing employers. Recently we had a discussion regarding Union Organizing which has reared its ugly head. You have to be extremely careful in your interaction with employees if any union activity comes to your place of business. Art wrote the article below.
The Machinists Union filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board in June, 2010 seeking to organize technicians at a car dealership in San Diego. An election was held on August 31, 2010 and the majority of technicians voted in favor of union representation. The dealership challenged the eligibility of certain voters — roadside assistance technicians, the technician/shop foreman and PDI technicians. The NLRB held that persons in these positions were eligible to vote, their challenged votes were counted, and the union held onto its majority vote. The results of the election have been challenged and the matter is pending before the NLRB in Washington, D.C. It is very likely that the Machinists victory will be upheld, the Union will be certified as the representative of the dealership’s technicians, and the dealer will have to engage in collective bargaining negotiations.
In the meantime, within the last few days another petition has been filed against another dealership in Anaheim, California. The Union’s petition seeks to represent technicians at that location.
A critical moment in the history of many companies is the struggle to defeat a union organizing drive. At stake is management’s freedom to manage its own employees and optimize the productivity and efficiency of its work force, unencumbered by collective bargaining contacts and intrusive union business agents. Unionization typically increases labor costs by 25%, but much of this money never benefits the employees. Unions only represent 6.9% of the workforce in the U.S., but are hungry for union dues and pension fund contributions.
Union organizing campaigns are complicated events. Employers need to know how to campaign against a union in compliance with the law. Supervisors need to be trained on how to spot union organizing before it formally surfaces and how to avoid committing unfair labor practices and objectionable conduct that undermine the employer’s ability to persuade employees to vote against representation.
We have trained numerous managers and supervisors on how to spot organizing and how to avoid communications and conduct that are unfair labor practices. A training, which includes handout materials and a question and answer session, typically takes no more than 2 hours. Training supervisors is an ounce of prevention that may help defeat a union organizing campaign. Let Jim Potts or me know if your employer is interested in our doing a training for you.
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