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10 Signs There May be Union Organization Occurring

Union organizing can often be a subtle process, especially in its initial stages. However, there are telltale signs that may indicate a union organizing effort is underway within an organization. Managers and HR professionals, in particular, should be attuned to these signals, not to stifle these efforts, but to understand the concerns of their workforce and address underlying issues.

Here are ten signs that may suggest a union organizing campaign is taking place:


Increased Conversations About Worker Rights: Employees might start discussing labor laws, worker rights, and unionization more openly. These conversations could happen during breaks, in private messages, or even in more public forums.


Rise in Employee Meetings: You might notice an uptick in the number of informal meetings among employees, including gatherings outside of work. These meetings may be part of the organizing process, where employees discuss workplace issues and the potential benefits of unionization.


Higher Interest in Company Policies: There may be a sudden surge in questions or complaints about existing company policies, particularly those related to wages, benefits, working hours, and grievance procedures. Employees might also request copies of policies or contracts more frequently.


Increased Questioning of Management Decisions: Employees may begin to question management decisions more openly and assertively. This could include queries about staffing levels, work assignments, and other management practices.


Unusual Activity on Work Premises: The presence of non-employees in parking lots or outside buildings can be a sign. These individuals might be distributing literature or talking to employees as they arrive at or leave work.


Rise in Complaints and Grievances: There may be a noticeable increase in the number of formal complaints or grievances filed by employees. This can indicate a coordinated effort to document issues that could be used in union negotiations.


Changes in Employee Behavior Towards Management: Employees who were once cooperative and engaged might become more reserved or even confrontational. This shift in behavior could be a response to organizing activities and discussions.


Increased Use of Social Media and Messaging Platforms: Employees might use social media, messaging apps, or online forums more frequently to discuss work-related issues. These platforms can be used for organizing efforts, especially in larger organizations or those with multiple locations.


Requests for Employee Lists or Contact Information: There may be attempts to compile lists of employees' contact information, which could be used to reach out to them about organizing efforts. This could be done under the guise of unrelated activities or social events.


Sudden Interest in Employee Solidarity: Symbols of solidarity, such as wearing the same color or type of clothing on specific days, can be a subtle sign of organizing efforts. Similarly, the use of specific phrases or slogans in conversations or written communications can indicate a coordinated campaign.


It's important for organizations to respond to these signs thoughtfully and constructively. Rather than viewing union organizing as a threat, it can be an opportunity to address legitimate employee concerns, improve workplace conditions, and foster a more inclusive and communicative organizational culture.

There are other signs as provided in this blog post.

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