You might wonder why certain employers aren’t unionized.  There are many factors, of course, but one of them is a keen awareness by the employer of the risks that are out there.

Target is one of those employers.

Earlier this week, Gawker acquired one of the videos that Target uses to educate its workforce on what it thinks about unionization.  It’s pretty slick.

There are many aspects to the video that show its sophistication in today’s workforce.  For example, it highlights the benefits of its own open door policy while also suggesting that if a union were to come in, it may have to change.

Indeed, if you watch the video, there are a lot of “mays” in it.  Why? Because the company — like all other companies that engage in such strong union avoidance strategies — wants to be sure that its messages don’t run afoul of the strict rules enforced by the NLRB.  By suggesting that some things might happen if a union comes in, the company plants the seed of something happening without committing to it.

Jon Hyman at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog (who tipped me off to this), has accurately noted that while the video is nice, your company doesn’t need something similar. He suggests that “TEAM approach to union avoidance:

  • Train supervisors
  • Educate employees
  • Accessibility
  • Modernize policies

As Jon goes on to note, “understanding that union avoidance starts as soon as an employee walks in your door about applying for a job, and not as soon as a labor union approaches your employees about signing authorization cards, is the first step in honing the right strategy that will keep your company union free.”

If you are wondering if this approach is right for your company, be sure to consult with your preferred counsel who has experience in both union and non-union work environments.

And if you want to watch the 2011 version of the same video (the sound may be an issue), check out the video below.