Working with unions as an employer

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Employment Law |

One of the most challenging things for a business to grapple with is unionization. While there are many arguments for and against unions, collective bargaining can be a challenge for employers.

To that end, if your workforce is unionized – as many healthcare and manufacturing industries are – your contract negotiations may become extremely sensitive. Recent trends of successful strikes at several businesses across the country demonstrate how fraught this can become.

How to successfully renegotiate a contract

As a business owner, you already have the experience to negotiate a favorable contract for yourself. You may even have a legal team that you rely on and trust. You have negotiated for an asset that you need. Negotiating with a union ready to strike – or a workforce prepared to unionize – will be no different from any other business negotiation.

It may help to remember:

  • Labor is a resource you need: Your business demands labor, and you should recognize the value that labor brings to your business. If you enter negotiations believing that your workforce should thank you simply for creating jobs, you will enter an uphill battle with union negotiators.
  • Employees will prioritize themselves: As a business owner, you will prioritize creating better value for yourself. You want to maximize your company’s value. The employees intend to maximize the value they receive for their work.
  • It is a negotiation: In several recent strikes, negotiations have broken down over the rejection of minor requests. This connotes a lack of respect for the negotiating party. Without a baseline of respect, there may be no saving negotiations.

Finding a workable contract situation for your workforce should be your top priority.

Aggressive tactics may be counterproductive

Aggressive tactics may seem satisfying, but they may just end up costing you time and money – which is what you were trying to save in the first place. In the end, you may want to end up viewing your workforce as a partner rather than simply an asset.


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