This is one of the main ploys used by organizers: creating fear of the employer in the minds of voters. I’ve seen organizers get employees in a frenzy over job security in companies that never fired employees for anything other than attendance. Creating fear in the minds of employees is the quickest way for an organizer to build support among employees.
The facts? In most companies today employees are only terminated after a series of write-ups or other progressive discipline. Our employment law landscape is quite different than it was even ten years ago – employers walk on eggshells whenever they have to fire an employee.
The reason for all this caution is the enormous number of employment laws we have in place today. There are more than 10 different “protected classes” today (when you add up state and sometimes even municipal requirements there can be more than 20). Then plaintiffs attorneys have discovered a way to prove “reverse discrimination” which is a cause of action available to anyone who isn’t in a protected class – in other words anyone can sue for anything.
While union organizers like to focus attention on things like “at-will” status and “open-door” policies (telling workers that it is really just an open door onto the street), the truth is much different. An employer who fires someone without a solid case – including documents and proof that the decision is consistent with prior actions and standing company rules – is just asking for trouble.
So employers take care when terminating employees. What about unionized employees – do they have it any better. Turns out the answer is no.
While most union employees are covered by a grievance and arbitration procedure, they also
give up their right to speak for themselves or to process their own case. This means that politics can often decide cases instead of the merits.
There are thousands of union members each year who accuse their unions of unfairly representing them in the grievance process. It turns out that unions don’t do that great a job protecting their own members. You can prove this to employees by showing them copies of the unfair labor practice charges filed against the union. Click here to get the last 100 charges filed against the union.
In addition, unions can also negatively impact a company in other ways which also threatens job security. Being laid off by a struggling company doesn’t feel a whole lot better than getting fired – either way you are looking for another job.