New issue emerging for boards & managements. Are you prepared?
Managements and boards today are focused on issues repeatedly hitting everyone – disrupted supply chains, increased cost of goods, inflation, global conflicts, spiking interest rates, volatile financial markets and more. A great deal is happening that requires focus and time.
But there is an issue emerging that American companies will face in the months and years ahead that is not on most radar screens.
Employees are leading enhanced unionization efforts in industries from airlines to retail to tech … and this new empowerment of workers is just beginning.
The Wall Street Journal noted on June 28, 2022: “labor unions have formed in previously unassailable places … Amazon, Apple and Starbucks. So far, the activity has been small, but noticeable.”
And with these successes, after years of declining influence, unions are having a resurgence and are gearing up for much more activity. The first half of 2022 caught a spike in union petitioning, led by a young, outspoken, social media-savvy generation well versed in deploying digital channels and tools like Slack, Telegram and others to communicate, organize and influence.
And workers across the country are expressing widespread support for unionizing efforts. According to a May, 2022, CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey:
46% of workers say labor unions are mostly good for working people, more than twice the number who say they are mostly bad (17%); another 33% say they are neither good nor bad.
36% of workers say labor unions do not have enough power and influence, more than the 29% who say labor unions have “too much power and influence” and 31% who say unions have “about the right amount of power and influence.”
More than one in ten workers in the U.S. are labor union members, but a majority of workers (59%) would support an increase in unionization at their company.
The pent-up demand for more representation was reinforced by the pandemic as conditions for front-line workers received public scrutiny.
Additionally, tight labor markets create worker activism because employees believe there are better job opportunities and are willing to take risk on forming a union knowing that it will defend against unemployment in forecasted turbulent financial times.
In this environment of instant, constant communications and global reach, campaigns against corporations no longer take months or years to gather steam. Instead, activists and unions implement immediate coordinated digital campaigns with dedicated skills and methodical plans, designed to capture engagement, secure media headlines and affect company policies by influencing many constituents.
To succeed in this upcoming aggressive union environment … boards, managements and risk leaders must have access to innovative thinking, new skills and techniques, as well as contrasting approaches that will match the depth, breadth, magnitude and speed of these online challenges.
Links to resources and recent studies: