The impetus for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) organizing effort at SGA Industries
The fact that the union experienced earlier defeat in the representation campaign has become the impetus for launching the organizing effort at SGA. Organizing effort stands for the intention to organize non-unionized workers to fight for organizing success, i.e. winning representation elections (Wallace, Fullertone, & Gurbuz, 2009). The union’s strategy was, for the most part, predictable, as the emphasis was made on job securities, computerizing communication with employees, and focusing on the excessive use of television and radio adverts to stimulate interest in the organizing effort (Nkomo, Fottler, & McAfee, 2010).
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The primary idea behind the effort was to draw attention from the activities of SGA and accuse the company of unfair labor practices. The central goal of this strategy was to make mischief among those employed by the SGA Industries and contribute to the inhomogeneity of perceptions of the company’s activities calling at question its plans for the future development and the effectiveness of currently used human resource management strategy.
Even though the concept statements of the union were less attractive, the central objective of the organizing effort was achieved, as the amount of those espousing the idea of unionizing intentions increased, and people became interested in supporting it because they believed they would be granted the freedom of voice and their rights would be protected once they join the union.
SGA’s strategy in managing the representation campaign
SGA has chosen the anti-union strategy as the foundation for managing the representation campaign. The primary emphasis was made on traditional harsh anti-union tactics including the distribution of messages opposing the ideas promoted by the ACTWU and enhancing anti-union moods in a local community (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2015).
However, the company went further in its anti-union efforts arranging meetings with local leaders including religious, community, and business leaders, transmitting anti-union films during the company time and making them obligatory to watch to foster necessary moods and, finally, spreading weekly newsletters including articles posting anti-union content (Nkomo et al, 2010).
Taking a closer look at the deployed strategy for managing the representation campaign, it can be said that SGA has chosen to develop its approach based on the TIPS strategy, i.e. the company did not threaten employees with unfair labor practices or adverse actions if they choose to support the union (T), never interrogated employees on their perceptions of the campaign and whom they will vote for (I), did not promise rewards or benefits in return of voting against the union (P), and never spied on union activities conducted by the employees (S) (Bruce, 2012). Even though the strategy deployed by the company was obtrusive and there were loads of anti-union materials distributed even making the anti-union film screening obligatory, SGA did not use direct threats or force employees to vote for it demonstrating the respect for the individuals’ right to self-determination and personal choice.
Potential unfair labor practice charges SGA management might face as a result of its campaign strategy
When speaking of unfair labor practices, it is imperative to note that, according to the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, they include any attempts of an employer to prevent employees from organizing or creating their unions, restrain or interfere with their rights to support the existing union, affect their intentions and perceptions of union activities, threatening an employee with firing them or taking away their benefits predetermined by their competence if they choose to support the union (Legal Information Institute, n.d.; Noe et al., 2015).
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Because the strategy for managing the representation campaign of SGA is rather aggressive including distribution of newsletters enhancing the establishment of the anti-union atmosphere in the local working community and forcing them to watch anti-union movies, the company might be filed with unfair labor practices charges. Some potential charges SGA might face due to the nature of its campaign include the following: stopping any unfair labor practices whether they are related to the intentions to influence public opinion or threaten those supporting the union.
Moreover, the company might be forced to rehire employees in case of firing them because they have chosen to unionize. Finally, some fines might be imposed on the company if it is proved that there were elements of unfair labor practices in its activities and strategies (Noe et al., 2015). As for now, SGA might be asked to change the character of the representation campaign making it less aggressive and pointing to benefits of supporting SGA instead of creating anti-union moods and limiting the scope of the campaign to informational only (Neuser & Barker, 2010). For example, managers might be asked to cease distributing newsletters and transmitting anti-union movies making them obligatory to watch (Galiatsos, 2015).
Employee relations practices to prevent employee interest in organizing
There are several recommendations for effective employee relations practices that might have been implemented for the prevention of employee interest in organizing. First of all, the company might have conducted surveys to determine the moods among employees and identify their needs they believe should be addressed, e.g. the right to voice mentioned by one of the workers supporting the union or guaranteeing the protection of wages and workplace mentioned by others (Nkomo et al., 2010). SGA management might want to begin by conducting one or two surveys annually to estimate the dynamism of changes and the effectiveness of management styles as well as the level of employee satisfaction with the working conditions (Noe et al., 2015).
Moreover, SGA Industries might have been interested in developing and implementing reward and benefits systems serving as the foundation for motivational systems and empowerment of the workforce to demonstrate care for the company’s employees and involvement in increasing chances for success in their lives (Noe et al., 2015).
Furthermore, one of the most efficient recommendations is to improve human resource management strategies and management styles. The idea is to create a comfortable atmosphere in the working place fostering the desire to communicate openly and protecting the right to voice as one of the primary needs mentioned by the employees (Mayhew, n.d.).
Also, it is supposed that changing the format of the representative campaign to purely informative instead of the forced imposing of anti-union moods might have been a productive step because it might have enhanced trust to senior management due to providing relevant and accurate facts instead of trying to manipulate employees and create the environment and moods beneficial for the leaders of SGA Industries.
All in all, the company might have found interest in studying the strategy deployed by the union because it has caught the attention and gained support among employees. For example, switching to television and computerizing instead of distributing newsletters might hint at the modernization of the working environment in the future helping win support.
Bruce, S. (2012). 4 TIPS for employers who want to fight off unions.
Galiatsos, C. B. (2015). Beyond joint employer status: A new analysis for employers’ unfair labor practice liability under the NLRA. Boston University Law Review, 95(6), 2083-2116.
Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Unfair labor practices (ULPs).
Mayhew, R. (n.d.). The best practices for manager-employee relations.
Neuser, D. J., & Barker, D. D. (2010). What every employee should know about the law of union organizing. Employee Relations Law Journal, 35(4), 3-45.
Nkomo, S. M., Fottler, M. D., & McAfee, R. B. (2010). Human research management opportunities: Cases, exercises, incidents, and skill builders (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2015). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Wallace, M., Fullertone, A. S., & Gurbuz, M. E. (2009). Union organizing effort and success in the U.S., 1948–2004. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 27(1), 13-34.
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