You're the executive leadership of a fast-growing multinational corporation. And you're worried your workers might be trying to unionize.
Look, you don’t need to explain it to us. Third party negotiators just don’t make sense for your company, especially not when you have such a special relationship with each other. You’re practically one big Italian family, if the family occasionally had to kill off some of its members to restructure its revenue model. So basically, like The Sopranos!
But still, organizing efforts can crop up anywhere and anytime. Here are the early warning signs to look out for.
Changes in employee behavior
You, a successful CEO, always hold your hand up for a quick fiver, but it seems to be taking a half-second longer than usual for people to pick up the cue, by which point you’ve already crossed paths and have to pretend it was just a casual wave. This is socially awkward, and might suggest your employees are taking special pleasure in lowering your status, or elevating their own.
Employees forming new alliances
You should be suspicious of unlikely friendships forming between departments. Are the Sales and Editorial teams suddenly doing escape rooms together? Since when are the nerds in IT suddenly hanging out with the jocks in R&D? Why didn’t anyone tell you that you were all going to wear purple on Fridays? This is how it starts.
Employees using coded language
Listen closely for union buzzwords in employee communication. If anyone says they’re trying to “organize” a trip to the Catskills together, or you hear a pregnant employee announce she’s going into “labor,” have them report to HR immediately.
Employees congregating after hours
You’ve never had a problem casually finding out where the end-of-week happy hour is before, but people now seem to be making plans for it in the bathroom, outside the range of the security cameras. They’re laughing on the way back to their desks. What were they talking about? What are they up to this weekend? Anything that needs a plus-one?
Changes in employee fashion
One of your associates seems to be wearing an awful lot of band tees depicting iconic duos lately. He’s newly into Sonny & Cher, Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates… famous unions, perhaps?
Employees sharing Onion articles
First of all, “onion” sounds like “union,” kind of. Plus, why the need for satire? Could they be concealing a dark resentment for late-stage capitalism that requires a need for bitterly accurate humor writing? And why hasn’t anyone commented on the tweet you shared in the office Slack last week? It was objectively hilarious.
Pictures of unicorns
Unicorn is just “union” plus a C and an R, which could reasonably be a coded omission that stands for Corporate Rebellion. If you see pictures of unicorns anywhere around the office, assume organizing processes are underway and terminate anyone who can be tied to one of the pictures.