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War is Hel...pful: Union Avoidance Training

By Howard M. Bloom
  • July 7, 2001

Everybody knows a key element of any union avoidance strategy is to ensure your supervisors are fully trained regarding their wide ranging rights to communicate with employees about the union and the issues union representation can raise. Teaching supervisors about the scope of their rights and responsibilities is essential.

But, here's an even more effective approach. Take your training to the next level with union avoidance "war games" training. War games training takes participants through a "mock" real life 100-day union organizing campaign. Participants learn about and experience first-hand the battlefield conditions of union organizing. Through a series of factual vignettes and role plays, participants learn to:

  • Identify and assess the myriad employee relations issues that can lead to union organizing
  • Understand the time-intensive environment union organizing creates
  • Quickly and effectively respond to the numerous "crises" which occur during the course of an organizing drive and can make or break a company's union avoidance effort

Here's how "war games" training works. Your managers and supervisors are separated into small groups and dispersed to breakout rooms. A facilitator describes an initial scenario and every ten to twenty minutes distributes a new set of facts. Each set of facts reflects a common "crisis" - for example, responding to media inquiries about organizing at your facility, addressing protected concerted activity, or handling a demand for recognition - which can occur during an organizing drive.

The supervisors and managers are responsible for dealing with these crises and quickly developing - and modifying - strategies to address the changing situation. They are called upon to draft communications to employees, customers and others. Every two hours all of the managers and supervisors convene; with the help of the facilitators, they discuss how they responded to the challenges presented by the scenarios. The training ends with the presentation of the final "25th hour" speeches prepared by each group.

Organized labor is employing increasingly aggressive and intensified campaign tactics. Now more than ever, prepared and confident supervisors and managers are a vital component of your union-free strategy. Jackson Lewis attorneys in our 20 offices across the country are available to conduct "war games" training for your supervisors and managers.

©2001 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at

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