Sunday, 20 January 2008

‘These corporate campaigns are consuming me’

“These corporate campaigns are consuming me”, says union avoidance consultant Michael Lotito. “They are all-encompassing; the multiple levels of attack that take place require constant attention and anticipation. The union shows up at 70 percent of your facilities located in 25 states, same time, same day, with handouts that attack the company. Simultaneously, it files unfair labour practices in some of the states, asks the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to investigate a claim that you're not living up to your affirmative action requirements, and sends a critical letter to the investment community”.
Lotito is quoted in an article on the state of the union movement in the USA in HR Magazine, a publication that ‘caters to management types’ according to the AFL-CIO. According to HR Magazine, the new emphasis on organising has not yet paid off in terms of large numbers of new members. Still, today’s organisers are ‘smarter, better prepared and more numerous’ than before. The AFL-CIO trained 560 new organisers in 2007 alone.
What really concerns the HR managers is the prospect of a new president after the November election, who might well enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). As a consequence, it would become more difficult for companies to violate labour laws. “Currently, many employers engage in initiatives to counter union campaigns they wouldn’t dare do under EFCA. Now, there’s a minor fine; under EFCA, every unfair labour practice will be potentially a $20,000 fine”, another labour relations consultant said. According to one estimate, private sector union membership could double under the EFCA.

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