Union Avoidance

we're thinking of buying a facility that currently has about 25 unionized employees. It's highly unlikely that we'll keep any of them if/when we buy the place and move our non-unionized people in. I'm concerned that the union will attempt to organize and then try to infiltrate at our bigger plant which has about 1200 employees....need some union avoidance advice/suggestions/best practices....Thanks.


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  • (sigh) I used to think like you NA. The reality is that the union will demand recogniztion at the site, demand that the original employees be retained, and push for recognition at your bigger plant. How to manage through these labor relations issues should be dealt with very early on in your due diligence stage of the potential purchase, with a competent labor attorney at your side. Jackson Lewis puts out a pretty good book (through CCH) that is informative and gets you thinking about where your opportunities to get / remain non-union may be.

    I also gently suggest you get out of the habit of saying "union avoidance"... unions have argued that so- called "avoidance tactics" are indicators of unlawful anti-union animus, improper interference with employees rights under NLRA, and/or precipitators of unfair labor practices. It's matter of semantics, really. The same approach, termed "preventive startegies" would be less likely to enrage the beast.
  • I only use the term "union avoidance" with people who understand and appreciate the lingo. Thanks for the feedback.
  • "Preventive Stratagies" I like it!
  • I agree with the first part of Blanche's response. You should anticipate much difficulty in executing your plan. First, if you plan to shut down the purchased plant in order to eliminate the unionized employees you will need to negotiate the terms of the shut down. Second, if you plan to reopen the plant with unionfree employees you will likely face a stiff challenge from the union to gain recognition. Their challenge is like to be in the form of an ULP charge that could get very messy. It would be very apparent that your actions were taken to get rid of the union.

    Please review the collective bargaining agreement at this location to see what successorship clauses may exist. Some of that depends upon the type of purchase you are making. I agree that you may need to consult with a labor attorney to review your plan and see how you may be able to do it legally.

    By the way, on the subtle issue related to the "union avoidance" moniker, we call it our "Union Free Strategy."
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