At McKnights LTC News, an important and honest article aimed at nursing home management- about unions, the Employee Free Choice Act and keeping unions OUT. The advice offered is simply good management, something that is missing in too many nursing homes.
One of the points that caught my eye as being different:
Gauge employee attitudes through surveys and feedback sessions so that unions cannot take advantage of employee discontent.
Employee surveys should become a pattern and practice at the company and should be done on an annual basis. Employee surveys will let management know how employees feel about a host of important factors, such as pay, benefits, supervisors, general work environment issues, fair treatment (or lack thereof), appreciation levels, and even whether the bathrooms are clean.
Initially I would recommend more than once a yearId do this every quarter until a pattern is developed and which would show employees a concentrated effort on managements part.
Create a communications strategy for reinforcing the value of maintaining a union-free workplace.
It is important to consistently explain to employees and supervisors the value of working in an environment free of interference from third parties. This means that employers have to walk the walk and honor the commitment to treat employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. For example, a company newsletter can be used to honor certain individual accomplishments or those of employee teams. Other communication devices, such as company Web sites, can be used to enhance employee identity with the company, which might alleviate the desires of certain employees to place a value on unionization.
About this walk the walk business: Get up from your desks and get out onto the units. Go talk with the aides and others. Catch them doing something good and WRITE THEM UP for it- a positive feedback tool that can work wonders for morale. Join the aides during their lunch breaks. HELP them with their workload when theyre short staffed. No union people will DO THAT.
Create a policy modification (employee handbook) in response to employee survey input, which includes informal and formal dispute resolution procedures and positive discipline.
Employees want to know that their input on the survey actually means something and that the company is responsive to their opinions. In addition, a formal grievance procedure should be utilized, which includes a two- to three-step process (e.g., an initial complaint to a supervisor followed by subsequent steps to a plant manager, and then to the company president). The final step could include binding arbitration if the dispute cannot be resolved to the employees satisfaction at an earlier stage.
When a companys policies mirror the typical union perks, unions have less chance of gaining hold. A grievance process is just one perk; almost every policy can be written to union standards, and this will be difficult for a union to counter.
Read the entire article nursing home management- DONs, Adminstrators, Ownerstake some action now before you lose control over your staff.