After watching The Irishman on Netflix, I’m left with two overriding thoughts: One, my God, that’s a long movie (like, thank God it’s on Netflix so I can hit the pause button, get a snack, and try to regain the feeling in my extremities kind of long), and two, I bet Jimmy Hoffa wishes, in retrospect, that he had avoided unions.
The Irishman tells the story of Frank Sheeran (or at least Frank Sheeran’s version of the story). Sheeran was a truck driver in the 1950s who got involved with the Bufalino crime family in Pennsylvania. As Sheeran became a top hit man, he went to work for Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters with ties to organized crime.
According to Sheeran, who was Hoffa’s lifelong “friend” (whatever “friend” means in the context of mob relations), Sheeran was involved in Hoffa’s 1976 disappearance when he mysteriously vanished off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again.
The movie is classic Scorsese, and I’m always keen for anything that brings Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro, and Al Pacino together to play mobsters. To learn more about Sheeran’s version of how and why Hoffa got whacked, you’ll have to watch The Irishman for yourself (perhaps during your next transatlantic flight or while standing in line for Space Mountain or waiting for your number to be called at the DMV).
In the meantime, let’s use this opportunity to review some union avoidance tips for employers because, although we may never know exactly what happened to Hoffa, we can take steps to keep our workplaces union-free.
Crime-Free Union Avoidance Tips
Employees may wish to join a union for different reasons, including the ability to earn more money and benefits, to have more power over their work conditions, for increased job security, to eliminate favoritism, to improve communication with management, and to alleviate poor treatment.
The number one reason employees ultimately choose to join a union, however, is they don’t feel their employer cares about them or values their contributions to the company or organization. As a result, the best way to avoid unions is to help your employees feel connected and valued, capisce? Here are some tips to help:
- Talk to your employees, and listen with an open mind.
- Acknowledge effort, and don’t only find fault.
- Enforce rules fairly.
- Correct safety hazards promptly.
- Provide adequate training.
- Treat your employees with respect.
- Remember what it was like before you were in management.
Hopefully, in reviewing these tips, you are sensing a trend—it all boils down to showing your employees that you value and respect them. Happy employees who trust their managers to treat them fairly, communicate with them, and look out for their well-being generally do not want, or need, to unionize. And here’s one final tip from me to you (yeah, I’m talkin’ to you): Lose the overlord attitude, but bring the cannolis (to work, that is). I mean, who doesn’t love cannolis?