As companies enter 2016, risk management includes analyzing the company's vulnerability to a union organizing campaign and its ability to take effective action. Early in 2015, the National Labor Relations Board ("Board") enacted new regulations which reduce the period of time between the date a union files a petition for an election and the date of the election. The average time has decreased from approximately 40 to 21 days. The time between the filing of a petition and the date of a hearing at the Board to determine issues, such as which employees are eligible to vote, has dropped from approximately 15 to 7 days. These changes make it imperative that companies be prepared to respond even before a union files a petition to become the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the company's employees.
Being prepared is crucial because unions overwhelmingly win elections in which they file petitions for an election. According to LRI Online, a union avoidance consulting company, unions won 70% of all elections in which they filed a petition during the one-year period ending October 31, 2015. In the one-year period ending October 31, 2014, unions won 69% of elections when they filed a petition for an election.
Chicago was the 8th most active region in the country for unions filing petitions during the one-year period ending October 31, 2015. Atlanta was the 4th most active, following Brooklyn, Seattle and New York. For the one-year period ending October 31, 2014, Atlanta did not appear among the top 10 regions. Chicago was the 6th most active region, following Boston, Portland, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Tampa. Nationally, the Teamsters Union was the most active union participating in elections in both one-year periods, followed by the Electrical Workers and the Machinists Unions.
To manage risk, companies can implement Masuda Funai's Ever Ready Anti-Union Campaign.™ The Campaign begins with a vulnerability analysis and continues with a review, drafting and implementation of policies and practices all companies should adopt. Companies also need to analyze how their wages and benefits compare and contrast with the wages and benefits of unionized workplaces located in the same geographic area in which the company is located. Other practices to implement include safety committees, supervisory and employee training, internal grievance procedures, among other practices, in order to ensure that the company can create and maintain a union-free working environment.