November 28, 2004
by Canadian Architect
A number of issues regarding the unionization of design and environmental professionals’ employees are addressed in this new publication. Many ASFE Member Firms employ field representatives who engage in construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET). CoMET field representatives have become the targets of trade union organization drives in Illinois. Union organizing activity is reported in other states as well and, according to ASFE Executive Vice President John Bachner, “We are not at all convinced that trade unions’ ambitions are limited to field representatives alone.”
Unionization Talking Points notes that the National Labor Relations Act limits what employers can say to employees, and when they can say it. As such, employers should obtain legal guidance before launching an information campaign. An information campaign is appropriate, the document indicates, because, just as employees have a right to engage in union activity, they also have a right not to. The publication encourages firms to educate employees about unionization before an organizing drive starts, focusing on issues such as higher pay, seniority benefits, the exercise of independent judgment and pursuit of personal ambition, and employees’ ability to “vote out” the union if they change their minds.
Unionization Talking Points cautions employers not to promise or threaten employees in an effort to influence any unionization decision. However, it encourages employers to speak up if a union makes false or misleading statements.
This publication is available for $60 US per copy, and may be ordered through ASFE’s website at www.asfe.org or by contacting ASFE Publications Manager Alpha Moore at (301) 565-2733 or [email protected]
Established in 1969, ASFE develops programs, services and materials its members apply to enhance their business practices. Members are professional firms that offer “earth engineering” and related applied science services; eg., geotechnical, environmental and civil engineering; geology, biology, ecology and archaeology; infrastructure security; brownfields revitalization; construction and program management; and construction materials engineering and testing. Member firms’ technical activities are under the full-time control of an individual who is legally and/or ethically bound to hold paramount public health, safety and welfare.