This situation seems to be influenced by legitimate power. The VP of a company has the status or formal job authority (Northouse, 2016, p. 10) to meet with the employee to give them the news of their termination but also to make the call concerning rescheduling the meeting after the employee has a meltdown. This power comes when employees in the organization recognize the authority of the individual.
According to The National Labor Relations Board (n.d.), it is unlawful to discourage (or encourage) union activities or sympathies ‘by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment’ (NLRB, n.d.). That being said, it has now become important to address the situation because it is affecting morale, production, and employee behavior. Most employers want to keep their employees happy if possible. However, unionization not only leads to higher wages and benefits for the employees but also to increased overhead and loss of value on the open market for the company. Since your organization’s revenues have dropped significantly which have resulted in a labor downsize, it cannot afford to become unionized. The first thing the VP should do is develop a communication plan. It will be important to meet with the members of the customer service department on a regular basis to foster a good relationship between management and employees and address employee concerns (SHRM, 2017).
The VP should talk to his department about why they think the workplace can do without the union and that there are policies, practices, and a culture already in place that make your company a good place to work even though the organization has recently gone through a rough patch. It is not only critical to articulate the organization’s vision and values to the employees but also to ensure that the organization’s systems and structures are aligned to reflect them. The VP should adopt a servant-leadership style management mentality which emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and ethical use of power (SHRM, 2012). It is also important for the VP to develop a people-centered culture that will be conducive to employee loyalty, productivity, and engagement. A proactive VP can give employees a voice by hosting meetings where roundtable discussions are held. This will result in engaged employees who feel they are being heard and have a degree of input.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
National Labor Relations Board. (n.d.). Discrimination against employees because of their union activities or sympathies (Section 8(a) (3)). National Labor Relations Board. Retrieved from https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/whats-law/employers/discriminating-against-employees-because-their-union
Society for Human Resource Management. (2017). Preparing for the Possibility of Union Organizing. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/possibilityofunionorganizing.aspx