According to an note in Politico Morning Shift, it’s looking like a virtual certainty that the Fiat Chrysler tentative contractual agreement with the UAW will be rejected by union members, largely due to concerns over a two tier wage system. According to the Politico article, much of the rejection derives from very effective use of social media by the UAW rank and file members in broadcasting their disagreement with many elements of the agreement.
The rank and file have been extraordinarily effective at broadcasting their dissent via social media. One UAW member, Brian Keller, used his own Facebook page as a “water cooler” for those opposed to the contract, DePillis reports. Digital savvy allowed members to “out-message” UAW President Dennis Williams on the pros and cons of the contract, the Detroit News’ editorial page observed Wednesday. The dynamic is similar to how rank-and-file members in unions like the AFT and the Machinists are taking to Facebook to protest presidential endorsements. It’s easier than ever before to tell your union that you disagree with it – and to let the media know about it, too.
This is a great example of how social media enables groups to communicate on their own outside the control or influence of the official channels of an organization. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, Kik and instant messaging empower discussion and conversation inside and outside the workplace in ways that managers may not foresee or be aware of. More than ever, employers need to consider the use of social media tools as part of their overall workplace communication strategy – especially when it comes to creating positive discussion around their culture and the great things they do for employees.
If you are attending the CUE Conference in Denver, you can hear more on this topic during our general session on Tuesday offering tips on how employers can put social media to work in building a positive employee relations environment. Check it out!