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INK: January 22, 2009

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Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson

Online Organizing

A really interesting article in The Nation about the promise – and perils – of online organizing. Among the most interesting things it discusses is how the web 2.0 world is actually a threat to unions in the traditional sense of the word.

The “distributed” nature of the web can destroy hierarchical structures (just as it has in the business world). Where a group of workers can self-organize around a problem, why do they need to fund and deal with the politics of a super-structure with its own agenda? They don’t.

read the rest of the article here…


SEIU Meltdown

Continue reading INK: January 22, 2009

INK: December 18, 2008

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Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson

Bailouts and Pay to Play

As unions prepare for the upcoming epic battle over the so-called “Free Choice” Act, they were dealt a couple of embarrassing public setbacks last week. The Detroit 3-UAW bailout and the “pay to play” scandal in Illinois create a lot of questions about union claims of fighting for the little guy at a time when they really need that narrative to resonate with voters and their supporters in Congress. What impact, if any, will these have on the push for the Free Choice Act in the next few months?

read the rest of the article here…


Under the Spotlight

Continue reading INK: December 18, 2008

INK: November 18, 2008

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Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson

Why Campaigns Matter

I received the following email today from someone who got my “Unions: The 7 Lies You Must Know” email series. I thought I would share it. My response follows. Here was the email from “localunion21”:

Hello Philip I have read your seven lies and have a question for you. I work non-union in Omaha Nebraska making $17.00/hr with no health benefits for my family and no plan for retirement.

I was approached by a union organizer and he did use some of the info you provided.

read the rest of the article here…


Boeing Strike The Last Straw?

Continue reading INK: November 18, 2008

INK: October 21, 2008

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Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson

EFCA: No Time To Lose

We are only 2 weeks away from what at this point looks like a big win for Barack Obama and a substantial – perhaps filibuster-proof – Democratic majority in the Senate. Many people we’ve talked to over the last several months about the Free Choice Act have told us they are waiting until after the elections before they do anything. I have a feeling many of those will say that they are going to wait until the legislation passes before they take action after the election.

These “conservative” strategies seem logical. After all, why prepare for a change in the laws when

Continue reading INK: October 21, 2008

EFCA Tip of the Iceberg

No matter what your political leanings, if you are a businessman (or woman), you have to be concerned about the impact to the business environment that a liberal sweep of the elections would most likely mean. The Employee Free Choice Act is but a glimpse of what could lie behind the curtain. And you can’t forget about the implications of long-term aspects such as judge selection and the restriction of pro-business speech on the airwaves (“Fairness” doctrine).

I can’t begin to tell you all the different ways you could or should be dealing with this situation (at least not in a blog post). I can’t create your contingency plans. I will suggest that the more you connect in a positive manner with your employees, the better your chances of coming out ahead. The better they understand the nature of your business and it’s competitive advantages, the better they

Continue reading EFCA Tip of the Iceberg

INK: September 24, 2008

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Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson

We All Owe A Debt To Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart gets a lot of bad publicity. That’s what happens when you are the big dog. But you learn to take those shots with a large grain of salt. Especially if you are in the labor relations part of the business, where just about anything you do is likely to make the front pages of hundreds of union and other anti-corporate blogs – if not the occasional Wall Street Journal article

read the rest of the article here…


Will Boeing Follow American Automakers?

Boeing StrikeNot content to hold probably the

Continue reading INK: September 24, 2008

How is EFCA Good For American Business?

Winning Workplaces has a great article on becoming a business that is hard for unions to organize. They state,

“the great leaders in the progressive small firms we recognize for their exemplary workplace practices work hard to create cultures that embrace soliciting employee opinions, early and often.”

I whole-heartedly agree! The challenge is that this kind of culture is built layer by layer, over time, and if this environment doesn’t already exist it cannot be constructed overnight.

If there is any single benefit to the potential onslaught upon American business brought about by the likely passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, it is the highlighting of this issue: that these types of business cultures really are the best environment for businesses. Those companies that have lagged behind might finally be motivated to be proactive in fostering such environments.

The effort required to build such a workplace, especially in

Continue reading How is EFCA Good For American Business?

Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Action Planning

I got the following email today from a reader of my employee satisfaction survey eBook. I thought her question about action planning was so good that it might be interesting to others, so I am posting her email (excerpted) and my reply below. First, her email:

Dear Phil,

I’m taking you up on your offer [to help on survey issues]…I am focusing on the “action planning” part of employee surveys. Most follow-up guidelines state the obvious steps after a survey:1. Understand the results2. Provide feedback to respondents3. Identify priorities4. Develop an action plan5. Implement6. Follow up

I want to develop a specific, motivating guide for managers to carry out steps 2,3,4 – that is, how to conduct follow-up meetings that are engaging in themselves, and not motivation-killers as I have observed many to be. E.g. “So here are our scores. What should we do about them? Who wants to

Continue reading Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Action Planning

Supervisor's Tip of the Week: Authentic Relationships or Stop Managing and Start Consulting

I mentioned in last week’s tip of the week how much I admired Peter Block (I was glad to see that Slacker Manager agrees with my assessment of Block). I’ve read most of Block’s books, including the most recent The Answer to How is Yes (which while less practical than his other titles, is probably his most important book). If you ever get the chance, attend a conference where he’s speaking – he’s got a very unique perspective on life that really comes through in his presentations (especially smaller-group breakout sessions).

I strongly urge new supervisors and managers to pick up Peter’s book Flawless Consulting. I consider it a must-read. This may seem like a strange recommendation; “I’m a supervisor, what the heck do I need to know about being a consultant?” The reason can be found in Block’s definition of consulting

Continue reading Supervisor’s Tip of the Week: Authentic Relationships or Stop Managing and Start Consulting

Open Source Unions

I love this idea. It is an “open source” guide to creating campaign literature (flyers, newspapers, etc.) for union and community organizers. The core guide is already written and is free to anyone who wants to download it. That is cool, but it is not the brilliant part of the idea. The guide is going to be free to edit by anyone who wants to contribute. That is the truly “open source” aspect of the project (most bloggers I assume will know what open source means – it comes from the open source software movement (Unux is the best example), where the code is publicly available and editable by anyone who wishes to contribute). I have hosted what I call the open source HR department for a few years now, but my technology is terrible – I have decided after reading this article to move the

Continue reading Open Source Unions