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Here’s What Communication Consultants Are Telling Union Organizers Not To Discuss With Workers

  • March 7, 2017

Here’s What Communication Consultants Are Telling Union Organizers Not To Discuss With Workers

Gratuitous Beagle Photo: She’s Not Listening Either.

Yesterday I wrote about how labor unions are learning to message issues to your employees.  Just the opposite is true.  While unions are struggling with traditional organizing and concerned about what their future may be under a Trump administration, they are still hard at work trying to reach out to your employees.  Some unions are using consulting firms in an effort to refine their messaging for today’s worker.

Yesterday we covered some of the ways they are using positive messaging. Today we are sharing some of the things consultants are telling organizers that they should not be saying.  All these examples are taken directly from a working document that can be found on the web.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Messaging

When talking to a prospective member, the consultants suggest the organizers:

• Don’t assume that the best message for one group will work with another: Tailor your messages, and understand that you must address concerns and issues differently.
• Don’t make it about politics – make it about issues: People hate politics and politicians, but they want us to fight for the issues they care about. Focus on issues that matter to “hard-working families.”
• Do not make blanket statements about employers – focus on the “irresponsible ones:” You are not anti-employer, we want to change employers for the better. Highlight and focus on the “irresponsible employers.”
• Don’t be vague: In many cases, people aren’t sure what protections they will get when they join a union. Give them clear details and they’ll be more informed and likely to join.
• Don’t Assume, Seed the Ground: You lose if you assume workers don’t have serious questions or concerns. Seed the ground first by selling your positives  and your image well before any specific campaign. In other words, think of a pre-campaign that proves value and the good we do everyday.

Words to Avoid:  Dues, Fee, Strike, Collective bargaining  

This advice makes it very clear why it is so important that employers talk to their employees about the realities of unions and collective bargaining.  Apparently unions don’t want them to know about the things they are trying to sell.



No Activism or Labor Activity Slow Down So Far

  • November 21, 2016

No Activism Slow Down So Far

One thing that the election of President Trump jas not slowed down in any way is labor activism.  This text was on my phone this morning. ff15

I wrote last week about how the use of technology platforms by unions continues to evolve.  I mentioned an app called Workit, which is a tool the OURWalmart labor organization is pushing out to Walmart associates on Android phones to help them get answers to questions if they feel their rights have been violated.  For the union, it’s just a way to collect the personal information of a few disgruntled employees.

Today I’ve heard of at least three more activist tools or campaigns that are gaining some media attention or trying to.

The first is a consumer driven anti-Trump Boycott that is  gaining some media attention under the hashtag #GrabYourWallet on Twitter.  There is a list with a large number of companies that done business with Trump or whose CEO supported the Trump campign in some way.

New app helps workers fight employer abuses, wage theft

Earlier this morning, another new app was released that allegedly helps workers fight employer abuses, and wage theft.

Here’s the text of the news release, jointly presented by the AFL-CIO, NDLON, and the Worker Institute at Cornell, of the School of Industrial Labor Relations.

WHAT:     Launch of Jornaler@ App ­– a new app that allows users to safely share their experiences and report abusive and neglectful employers, simplifying the process of documenting wage theft and other violations

  Day laborers face the constant threat of not getting paid for their work, being paid less than the minimum wage, or being subjected to workplace dangers outside of their control. Initiatives that support low wage and immigrant workers have become critically important for preventing a surge in violations of labor and human rights of these vulnerable workers.

To address these challenges, New York day labor centers in collaboration with The Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, have developed a new tool, a mobile phone application to prevent wage theft and other violations of worker rights.

The Jornaler@ Wage Theft App (jornalera meaning laborer) allows users to safely share their experiences and report abusive and neglectful employers, effectively inserting transparency and simplifying the job of record keeping, allowing laborers to:

Engage by keeping track of hours and earnings Report wage theft to a workers center Alert other workers about bad employers The launch event will include a brief demonstration of Jornaler@ given by day laborers that were closely involved with the design process, and remarks will be made by:

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO Kenneth E. Rigmaiden, General President of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) Jeff Grabelsky, Associate Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell James Rogers, Deputy Commissioner of the NYS Task

And lastly, the fight for $15 announced via text message and other media sources including Politico Pro that they will be holding nationwide protests on November 29 to call for a $15 minimum wage and the right to organize.

Terrence Wise, a fast-food worker and Fight for $15 leader, said today on a press call that the protests and strike would be the “most disruptive” in the movement’s history. He added that workers would not tolerate any attempt by President-elect Donald Trump or Congress to block a minimum wage increase and to deport immigrants.

The protests will take place at nearly 20 airports, including Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles International and Newark International, and outside McDonald’s and other restaurants in more than 340 cities. Workers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will walk off the job to call for a union.

Among the protesters who will participate are baggage handlers, fast-food cooks, home care workers, child care teachers, and graduate ff15teaching assistants.

International Franchise Association comments on Subway/DOL Agreement

  • August 1, 2016

IFA comment on Subway/DOL Agreement   path

One of many issues with this agreement is that it increases the risk on employers being named a joint employer under the still developing standard promulgated by the NLRB and adopted by several other government agencies.


International Franchise Association Vice President of Government Relations & General Counsel Elizabeth Taylor released the statement below following the announcement that the U.S. Labor Department Wage & Hour Division and SUBWAY have entered a voluntary agreement to encourage compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act by its franchise owners.

“Educating franchisee owners and facilitating compliance with all applicable laws is a top priority of the International Franchise Association. We commend franchisors’ efforts to further that goal by providing guidance to their franchisees to help them comply with applicable labor laws. However, these initiatives have been dramatically complicated by the expanded National Labor Relations Board issuance of a new, vague joint employer standard.

“Legitimate concerns now exist as to which franchisor actions cross the line and could serve as evidence of a joint employment relationship in future litigation or a government enforcement action. Without assurances that their compliance efforts will not be used against them by another government agency, or plaintiff attorneys, franchisors are caught in an inevitable catch-22. Further, these concerns are not limited to franchise businesses; the NLRB’s new standard has created uncertainty in all supplier and independent contracting relationships.

“These concerns underscore the need for Congress to act quickly to clarify the definition of joint employment and provide a bright-line standard for businesses. Doing so will not only increase economic growth and facilitate the creation of jobs, but also will ensure greater compliance with wage and hour laws and benefit millions of employees nationwide.”