Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Anti-union vs. Anti-worker

Tomorrow at 5 pm I'm participating in an online panel discussing fair compensation in the craft beer industry. It's part of the Craft Beer Professionals Spring Virtual Conference (register here).

Some members of the group, however, are objecting to my participation. They take issue with my recent posts about union organizing, and more specifically union organizing in the craft beer industry. They claim that "anti-union" (which I am) is the same as "anti-worker" (which I definitely am not). They argue that my anti-union views bar my seat at the fair compensation table — that I'm cannot opine on fair compensation because I'm anti-worker.

I believe, however, that anti-union and anti-worker can be, and often are, mutually exclusive. 

Indeed, I asked this very question on LinkedIn and only a mere 12 percent believe that anti-union equals anti-worker.

In fact, I'm quite comfortable with my record as not being anti-worker despite my job as a management-side labor and employment attorney.

  • I believe that all workers should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • I believe in equal and equitable treatment for all workers regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, religion, age, disability, genetic information, and all other categories protected by law.
  • I believe in equal pay for equal work.
  • I believe in not terminating someone's employment without a good reason to do so.
  • I believe in paid family and medical leave for workers.
  • I believe that non-competition agreements are overused and too often unfairly restrain employees from finding suitable employment.
  • I believe in paying employees a liveable wage.

And, most importantly, I believe that I can accomplish more good for workers by advising their employers on the legal, proper, and best manner to manage their employees. That is exactly why, for example, I publish my annual list of worst employers.

Indeed, the best defense against union organizing is and always will be to be pro-worker — treat your employees fairly, reasonably, and with respect. If, however, you treat your employees like fungible commodities to be underpaid, abused, and discarded there's not much I or anyone else can do for you to help you remain union-free. 

In other words, be better or be prepared to pay the price.