Union Neutrality Agreements
In a card cheque, electoral unions obtain recognition on the basis of signed cards and not by a secret ballot. Neutrality agreements are not in the public interest, much less in the interests of those most concerned — employers and workers. With neutrality agreements, “workers probably believe that the company is offering this assistance to the union, that they could find themselves in trouble if they don`t support the union,” Wilson said. “There is no environment in which staff are free to decide whether they want to be represented or not.” The memo will give employers who are concerned about some of the excessive provisions of a neutrality agreement the opportunity to reject them on the basis of the view that they are illegal, said Todd Lyon, a lawyer at Fisher Phillips in Portland, Ore. and Seattle. The memo “provides an overview of the NLRB`s current agenda,” he said. Access to premises: Neutrality agreements generally allow the union to visit the company`s site during working time in order to collect authorisation cards authorised by the unions. This is different from the guidelines of the NLRB and the courts, which do not require an employer and may indeed be prohibited from granting the union such wide access to its workers. Few employment decisions made by workers are as important as whether they should be represented by a union.
It is very likely that the employer will have information that employees should know about this decision. Often, companies that enter into neutrality agreements have already unionized a large part of their staff, he said. In such circumstances, employers can enter into a neutrality agreement to ensure favourable working conditions at their existing union sites. They are unaware that trade unions are infamous for using subtle forms of moral suasion, which are often neither subtle nor moral, to obtain signatures on authorization cards. The Board of Directors applies the stricter and less ambiguous standard “more than ministerial aid” to determine whether employer assistance is an unfair labour practice for workers seeking to disintegrate or withdraw from a union. It has repeatedly decided that a decertification petition is tainted when an employer provides “more than ministerial assistance” to the initiation or collection of signatures in support of the petition. The question of whether an employer has provided “more than ministerial assistance” is whether “the preparation, dissemination and signature of the petition constituted the free and non-compulsory action of the workers concerned.” Companies that are invited to enter into neutrality agreements – or to work among them – should carefully assess the conditions in light of this memo, Pryzbylski said. “Beyond this memo, a company should carefully assess the pros and cons of such an agreement, because it waives the important rights to give its opinion on union training to its staff.” The essence of a neutrality agreement is that the employer prevents workers from applying for union representation and will do nothing. An Illinois law imposing neutrality agreements for people who enter into contracts with the state for the provision of services to the disabled defines the agreement as follows: For copies of this document or other information about the influence of unions on public order, please contact us. The rule of the gag: while most neutrality agreements purport to require a single employer to remain “neutral,” they actually succumb to an order to gag language that is not favourable to the union. A company, including its executives and superiors, is prohibited from saying anything negative about the union or union formation during an organisational trip.