Despite the fact that unions fail to achieve first time contracts for newly unionized workers nearly 50% of the time, for more than a decade, unions have been winning a significant majority of NLRB-conducted elections.
Unions win elections through a varity of tactics.
These tactics include (but are not limited to) making implied (or actual) promises to targeted workers, paying workers to get their co-workers to sign up with the union, sending union “moles” into companies, as well as a host of other tactics.
One very successful tactic that union organizers often use is what is referred to as inoculation.
Inoculation is when union organizers predict to employees what company management will do during the period leading up to a NLRB election.
When the company does what the union predicted to employees, the union’s organizers appears to be like Nostradamus and gain crediblity with the targeted employees.
In a Philadelphia Inquirer article, Bill Cruice, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Processionals (PASNAP) explains how, at a local restaurant, union organizers met with nurses recently to “inoculate” them to management’s message during a recent NLRB election.
There, the nurses received their inoculations over fried onion rings and mugs of coffee.
“In some ways, it’s no different from a nurse inoculating someone with a vaccine,” Cruice said. “This is our vaccine, inoculating them against the poison” from management.
What they heard from union organizers was a list of all the bad things that might happen to them once they filed an election petition with the NLRB.
The nurses learned about harsh one-on-one meetings, about the possibility of being closely monitored at work, about how officials might plead for a chance to make things right, how people might be fired for minor infractions previously tolerated, how shifts might be changed to hurt ringleaders.
The tactic worked for Cruice’s union.
While it may take months or years for the union to negotiate a contract that delivers on whatever may have been promised to employees, the union won the election.
Image credit: The Commons.