New National Labor Relations Board Rule Change

New Rule Cuts Response Time to Respond to Unionization Campaigns by Nearly One-half

Hoteliers could expect more union elections as a result of a recently approved rule by the National Labor Relations Board on December 22, 2011 according to officials at Anchor Planning Group, a human resources consultancy and retained executive search firm. The new ruling, which takes effect on or around April 30, 2012, will reduce the time that hotels have to respond to union organization petitions by nearly half from the current 42 days to 24 days or less. 
“The new rules contain a number of changes which are highly favorable to unions and gives them a significant advantage in organizing efforts,” said Jeffrey A. Wade, Anchor’s president and chief executive officer.  “It puts hotel management at a great disadvantage by dramatically reducing the time they have to prepare a response to organizing efforts and engage associates in open, two-way dialogue about the impact of a unionization vote.”
“Responding to a union organization effort, especially one that has been working behind the scenes for some time, requires planning and resources.  Like in sports, the best offense is a good defense,” he noted.  “If you prepare now, your hotel will be less susceptible to unionization efforts and you will be on a much stronger footing should unions mount an attack.” 
“Our senior consultants and strategic partners have conducted thousands of pro-management campaigns over the past 20 years. The key is taking proactive steps before you become a target. Waiting could cost thousands of more dollars and limited your ability to remain union-free” said Wade.
Wade recommended seven steps to create a more favorable work environment now to limit the likelihood of a unionization effort. 

  • Complete an annual vulnerability assessment.  Hotels should conduct annual associate surveys.  In addition, human resources experts should review the internal and external factors that may affect possible unionization efforts.
  • Develop a proactive communications plan.  Establish formal vehicles, such as newsletters regular meetings and special events to create an environment of open two-way communications.
  • Review the recruiting and selection process to help prevent union employees from being hired into the workplace to lay the groundwork for a future unionization effort.  (Also known as salting.)  
  • Conduct regular supervisor and manager training to enhance associate relations and to create awareness of potential unionization efforts.
  • Update the company’s position on unions in the employee handbook, explain your hotel’s philosophy about why you don’t think associates need a third-party  to represent them
  • Update your new hire orientation. 
  • Create and APPROVE a flexible, executable strategy including such major elements as relevant facts and figures, campaign themes, talking points, and support materials.