Friday, November 06, 2009

A brief guide to persuasion in the workplace

Michael Barone, Wall Street Journal:

[T]he union leaders have been frustrated on their No. 1 goal, the card check bill that would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections. A couple of bulky guys in varsity jackets visit your home and, um, persuade you to sign a card, and later the union -- with the help of a mandatory arbitration clause -- impose contracts on employees and rake in the dues money.

You see, the best way for any organization to thrive that is dependent on you for its existence is to bully and intimidate its way to your consent.  As Jehovah's Witnesses and college environmental campaigners have repeatedly shown, this approach always works.

On the other hand, any organization which knows you are dependent on it for your livelihood will work tirelessly to earn your approval, often through reasoning and persuasive argumentation, and only after a thorough fielding of one's concerns.  This is why "bosses" are universally admired.

This summarizes the important differences between unions and employers when it comes to soliciting support from members and employees.


Montag said...

as i understand it, both card check and secret ballot are legal as the law now stands. however, employers currently have the power to demand a secret ballot. (effectively abolishing the use of card check!) the proposed legislation would take that right away from empolyers. employees would retain the right to hold a secret ballot if they prefer to.

this could be seen to disadvantage employers, in that without knowing exactly when a union vote will take place, it will be hard for employers to know when to, uh, persuade employees not to unionize.

JRB said...

Well, Montag, one might argue that when it comes to any workplace, it is the employer's concerns that are most likely to go unheard. So it is only fair that we furnish them with the opportunity!

I understand you can make a fine living repeating this argument in the national media forever.