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What Do You Do if Your Employees Want to Unionize?

  • By: lipplaw
    Published: November 22, 2023
My Employees Want to Unionize. Does My Company Need a Lawyer?

Yes, we recommend having a lawyer to represent your company during a unionization campaign. While it is not legally required to have a labor lawyer in this situation, having an experienced labor law firm to represent the company will likely save your company thousands of dollars, protect the company’s legal interests during the negotiations, and prevent your company from making common mistakes that can turn into legal battles.

What Should You Do When Employees Try to Unionize?

First, you should get experienced labor law counsel before taking any action, to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps and following labor laws.

Once you have labor law counsel, they can guide you through the labor union certification process. In some instances, the labor union will have to show through a certification vote that they are the designated representative of your workers. In other situations, the company decides it wants to waive the formal voting process.

How Should You Choose a Labor Law Firm to Represent Your Company?

The best labor law firm to help your company will have these qualities:

  • Experience with collective bargaining: The law firm that you choose to represent your company should have experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements on behalf of management against unions. The collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, is the contract between the company and the labor union that governs a unionized workplace.
  • Industry Experience: A law firm that has represented companies in your specific industry before will know what issues are likely to come up in the negotiation, and have a better sense of what to anticipate.
  • Best Negotiation Style: Do you seek a hardline, “bang the table” negotiator, or a relaxed negotiator that will put you at ease? Each attorney-client relationship is unique, and you want to feel comfortable and confident with your choice of legal counsel, so the “fit” is an important factor to consider.
  • Union Experience: Ideally, the law firm that represents your company will have specific experience negotiating against the union that your workers have chosen to represent them. While this is a plus, because there are so many different kinds of unions, if the law firm hasn’t worked with the specific union before, but has negotiated against other unions, this is an ideal trait but not 100% necessary.

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement?

A collective bargaining agreement, also called a CBA, is the negotiated contract between a union and the company governing a unionized workforce. The CBA includes topics like working hours, wage increases, reviews, benefits, paid time off, holidays, grievance procedures, termination procedures, and other workplace policies that are meant to protect workers.

Do I Have to Let My Workers Unionize?

Yes, most employees in the United States, with some exceptions, are legally protected to unionize. The law that governs workplace unionizing is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which is enforced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Because labor law is such a niche area of the law, it’s important to have an experienced labor lawyer representing the company when it is faced with union-related issues. There are also different state laws that can apply to labor unions, so it’s important to hire a lawyer that is licensed in the state where your employees are working.

I am in a Right to Work State. Does This Mean I Have More Rights Against the Union?

Virginia is a Right to Work state. Right to work means that an employee cannot be forced to join a union. In non right to work states, if the majority of the workers in a workplace decide to unionize, then an employee does not have the right to opt-out of union membership.

If you are running a business in Virginia, and the majority of your workers decide to join a union, they are legally able to do so. However, there are several things that an experienced labor lawyer can do to protect your business during this process.

Contact an Experienced Labor Lawyer – Covering Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC

The Lipp Law Firm has experienced labor lawyers ready to assist your company with its urgent labor union issues. Contact The Lipp Law Firm today to get personalized legal advice today.

Kathryn Megan Lipp

Katie dedicates her practice to employment separation guidance.
Based on her successful employment litigation practice...Read More