The new face of Congress and the new presidential administration have made it clear that the rights of employees to organize are a top priority. As evidence, one need only look to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would be the most pro-labor bill to pass Congress since the New Deal era Wagner Act. And as Congress considers EFCA, the issue is not whether major pro-labor changes will be made to federal labor law, the issue is what form those changes will take.

Many employers believe that an employee's decision to support or oppose a union turns on wages and benefits. This is simply not so. While maintaining competitive wages and benefits is important, high wages will not necessarily keep a union out. Treatment issues are more important, though often overlooked. The following are just a few reasons that most employers unwittingly give their employees for joining a union.

  • Ignoring Employee Complaints
  • Neglecting Safety Concerns
  • Favoritism

The key to maintaining a union-free workplace is going to be open communications, reasonable policies that are consistently enforced, and a commitment to respond to employee issues. Competitive wages and benefits are also important, but never assume that unionization is all about wages and benefits.

This article appeared in the January 15, 2010 issue of The Mecklenburg Times.