Sometimes, employers are not fair. They fire without cause. They don’t listen. They don’t give credit where it’s due. They enforce suffocating policies designed to keep everyone singing the same song. What do you do when you feel your employer is screwing you?
One workplace I know is unionizing. The workers are white collar professionals working in a not-for-profit environment. They work on one year contracts with no job security. They can be fired at will and are. They have no voice in how things are run. Their employee manual can be changed at will regarding workplace policies and these changes are handed down summarily. Reputations get smeared and employee performance issues are confronted privately and one-sided, with the organization’s lawyer ever-present.
This is a genuinely difficult challenge for each person. Unionizing is a way to shift the power balance from one-sided to collaborative. Naturally, management feels threatened and while workers are protected by labour laws from punitive consequences, no law is fully protective. They love their work and simply want to be included in the conversation and to have some basic protections against unfair practices.
This is a fork in the road. There is no way to guarantee success. Each person must look inside themselves, weigh the risks and rewards and take a stand. For or Against. Palms are sweaty and breadwinners know the risk is high. It is a perfect time to lean on the First Rule of Inner Peace: “First get neutral about outcomes and then you will see clearly what to do.” To be neutral is to be at peace with the situation as it is now.
With peace comes clarity. You begin to see the other side’s point of view – their fears and anxieties. You can empathize with them, yet still decide that you need to take action. My experience is that many leaders act out of fear and that emerges in the form of overbearing control.
Taking a stand is an act of love – to help them see that their fears are making things worse, not better. When you are at peace first, you get to that place where you accept that you might not get what you want, yet you are passionate about what you hope for and what you need to do.
I hope this particular group finds neutral so it can shift the power balance with or without a union. Command and control leadership is dying and this management team is receiving a favour from its employees, whether they realize it now or not.