As the 2016 political races heat up, it seems increasingly inevitable that domestic employment and labor policy will be an on-going concern of candidates at all levels. Some of the action kicks off in October with three different conferences or “Summits” being convened by a wide variety of groups as a way to lay out their issues and discusses ideas on moving a specific agenda forward.
Today, the White House and the Department of Labor will be hosting a so-called “Summit on Worker Voice“, bring a slate of guest invitees from labor, business and other organizations together to discuss ways to ensure that middle class Americans are sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth that they are helping to create. It would be worth your time to check out the link we’ve posted to review the social media messaging and the YouTube video that was posted by the Department of Labor to promote the event. There is also a live stream if you want to listen to the event today.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Heritage Foundation held it’s own “Summit on Worker’s Empowerment” on October 6th. This event featured workers discussing problems they have had with organized labor. In addition, American Rising Squared (AR2), a nonprofit public policy organization, has produced a video as a counter-point to the Administration’s promotional materials for the White House Summit.
Finally, a group of digital media workers who have been very actively organizing throughout the ranks of new media will meet in Louisville Kentucky from October 8th – 11th to work on developing a Nationwide Center for Media Workers. According to the their website, the group will create a non-traditional labor committee, and seek to develop their own industry-wide campaigns to promote the right to self-determination and advocate for greater workplace democracy covering 12 key areas of media workers’ rights.
CUE members will be gathering next week in Denver at our own fall conference “Reaching the Summit of Positive Employee Relations“, where CUE members can hear more about these events and all the latest developments in labor and employee relations.
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.
From Politico Morning Shift:
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!