Labor Relations Readiness Manual
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Though it remains unclear exactly how Washington’s policymakers and regulators will alter our nation’s labor policies and practices, one thing is certain: management will no longer have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach to labor relations preparedness.
Whether faced with card check, expedited elections, electronic voting or other union-friendly changes, employers won’t be afforded the same notice or time that they’ve had in the past to prepare for and defend against a union organizing drive.
There are a number of strategies management should use to prepare for what’s ahead, including the IRI Labor Relations Readiness Manual, which provides a strategic communications blueprint, messaging, outreach strategies and educational materials to help executives and managers prepare and respond effectively in the event a union targets the organization.
The Readiness Manual should be part of any comprehensive Labor Relations Readiness System that includes assessments, development and preparation of Readiness Teams, as well as educational programs for the entire organization – board of directors, senior leadership, managers and supervisors, and all employees.
Similar in concept to disaster preparedness or Joint Commission readiness manuals, the Labor Relations Readiness Manual addresses the informational needs of all essential stakeholders, and provides the flexibility to share this information in various ways that take into account the unique culture and dynamics of the organization.
IRI’s seasoned labor and communications consultants work directly with selected leaders in the organization to customize and develop the Readiness Manual to reflect the specific culture of the organization, and to address its identified issues and needs as well as those of its key stakeholders. These strategy sessions occur regularly throughout the development process.
Organized into two distinct sections, the Readiness Manual is tailored to 1) executives, HR, and communication leaders and 2) managers and supervisors. It provides essential information, including:
- A full complement of supervisor/manager education materials to prepare them to fulfill their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a union-free workplace
- Supervisor/manager communication strategies, including conversation starters, tips on how to talk about unions with employees, and frequently asked questions
- “What do I say and do if” scenarios
- Talking points and messaging on key issues likely to arise in an organizing campaign
- Stakeholder outreach strategies to identify key external stakeholders, points of contact, communication initiatives and timelines
- Management and executive visibility strategies to promote trust between employees and management
- Sample communications (e.g., CEO letters to management and staff about onsite card signing, union activity, etc.), which are developed in close consultation with clients
Although not designed to replace face-to-face training with managers and employees, core components of the Readiness Manual are crafted to complement a broader Readiness System, including management training, employee education and communications services.