Dealing with Union Issues Can Be Complex

Labor unions have a place in our country and business owners need to learn the basics of dealing with union issues. There are a number of different unions for various types of work. Many businesses need to work with union employees at one time or another. If you need to hire union employees for your business, you have some special concerns that must be properly reviewed.

Union Rules

Union employees may be paid by the company, but they are typically governed by union rules. A union employee may have a different set of rules that must be abided by when making decisions that impact union workers. The most important thing is to understand the union contract. Obtain a copy of the contract and review it with assistance from your attorney, if necessary. Make a special note of union rules that differ from regular company policies.

Working through Problems

When a union employee needs to be disciplined, it must be done in accordance with union rules. These rules may be quite different from what you are used to. It is important to realize that union workers must be treated according to the applicable regulations. Check the contract before any type of discipline is done. Very often, you must contact the union first to inform them of the disciplinary action that is going to be taken.

Hiring and Firing Union Workers

When you must hire union workers there are usually specific policies in place as part of the contract. Hiring or firing is not always a simple matter. In some cases, you may need to hire workers from a pool of available union employees. Sometimes you may be required to have a specific ratio of journeymen to apprentices in your employ. Firing is also not easily done. If a union employee is not working out he or she needs to be properly disciplined according to the contract. If you make a mistake, you could end up having to pay the employee and bringing him back as well.

Integrating Union Workers

Most businesses that utilize union workers have a mix of both union and non-union employees. Non-union employees are typically known as management. Policies should be put in place to help integrate both sets of workers so you can make the workplace more harmonious. When working with union contracts it is usually helpful to have some input from a knowledgeable commercial law attorney.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Dealing with Union Issues,or any other litigation matters, please feel free to contact Roger C. Decker at  480.461.5343, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.