Pay Now or Pay Later

Global consulting firm Hay Group’s Employee Free Choice Act Survey found that “Companies recognize that if EFCA passes it will have an impact on their business, but few are being proactive…,” said Richard Fine of the Hay Group. “Instead, we’re seeing companies take a wait-and-see approach. It’s as if they see the rain coming, but aren’t getting out their umbrella.”The study found 60 percent of respondents expect some form of EFCA to pass and 2/3 of those are considering adding or increasing supervisor management and training programs.

Other key findings:

Nearly 35 percent of respondents expect EFCA to increase employee pay at their organization; A majority believe total labor costs will increase between10 and 25 percent

More than 70 percent of respondents rated their current work climate with hourly employees as positive or very positive, however, only 35 percent of respondents administer employee opinion surveys to address union avoidance and vulnerability.

“Ultimately, whether or not an organization becomes unionized comes down to management,” added Fine. “Employers should be taking the time now to ensure their employees are engaged to avoid a dramatic increase in labor costs later.”

The Bottom Line: When fear about the future is running rampant amongst employees and when unions are preparing to unleash the biggest organizing effort since the 1930s, there cannot be a more important time for companies to invoke employee feedback mechanisms (surveys and focus groups) to determine whether they are treating employees right.   But apparently 65% of companies have adopted an ostrich like attitude based on unfounded hope that everything is okay.  Time to get the head out of the sand and realize “Hope is not a solution!”  Those that don’t act to determine issues and solutions that will make the workplace better run a very real risk that they will have an uninvited union partner when is comes to making post-recession decisions.