60 - Union Some, You Lose Some (with Jon Hyman)

All extroverts, no sense of humor, makes all the decisions, makes no decisions, only looking out for the company and much muchhhhhh more BS on this one team. The ladies team up with another HR influence, @HRTraci, for Part 1 of this saucy convo on common HR Misconceptions. Love this one? Pop over to the Bringing the Human back into Human Resources podcast to finish Part 2. Tell them we said ‘Sup?’


Release Date: August 24, 2022


[00:00:00] Announcer: Warning. This podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck-up, PC, compliance-based, or employment law podcast about stuffy, outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Alexa Baggio: Just another day in the office.

[00:00:18] Female Speaker: There's nothing better than a bunch of people who work in HR getting around the table and sharing these stories. We have this out-of-body experience in HR where you're like, "How did I get here?"

[00:00:26] Alexa: It's not that bad.

[00:00:27] Tyson Mackenzie: HR is not that bad, it's not.

[00:00:28] Alexa: Come hang out with Tyson and I on this podcast, we'll make you laugh.

[00:00:31] Announcer: This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.


[00:00:39] Alexa: What's up, Tyson? How are we doing?

[00:00:41] Tyson: Not too much. Well, you know what? My house is like a madhouse. It's a madhouse. One of the new lessons and parenting advice or I guess parenting nobody really warned you about. Kids that are teething, it's like a whole slew of things. It's a fever, it's a rash, it's crying, it's not sleeping. It's thing, and thing, and thing. I'm like, "What the hell, man?" I thought that a demon came and possessed my child, and then I looked in her mouth and she has bursting through her gums-

[00:01:17] Alexa: Nice.

[00:01:17] Tyson: -these big teeth, and I'm like, "Oh man." This is a lot. It's a lot. It's hard.

[00:01:23] Alexa: I didn't realize they teethe so young, again, because I know nothing about children. Sorry. I'm that asshole.

[00:01:28] Tyson: No. Her first two popped through like nothing. I didn't even like-- whatever. I think I probably talked about it on the podcast many months ago. They pop through, no big deal, and now, these top ones are coming through and it's like, "Ah." Yes, mama is running on a little less sleep than normal.

[00:01:47] Alexa: Awesome. All right, and all the cats and rest of the family are good?

[00:01:53] Tyson: Yes. Well, I was just saying that my other cat is going through heat. Welcome, Pat Pat to the podcast. She will be screaming in the background, my poor Wolf, my darling baby, he's just trying to stay away from her because she just won't leave him alone. Sometimes, they get down dirty, but I'm trying to not-

[00:02:10] Alexa: Women in heat, man. You got to watch out.

[00:02:11] Tyson: -not let that happen. Yes, her appointment to get fixed can't come fast enough. It's next Tuesday.

[00:02:18] Alexa: Oh, well, hopefully, by our next recording, you will be post teething and post cat in heat.

[00:02:24] Tyson: The funniest thing is I get this text from my husband and he's like, "I think I might have got COVID, so I'm going to do a test, but I should probably just isolate. Maybe, I'll stay at my parents," blah, blah, and I'm like, "I'll take COVID, man."

[00:02:36] Alexa: Baby is teething, cat's in heat, and husband is away and with COVID.

[00:02:38] Tyson: You got to help me. I'll take COVID because I can't do it alone. Oh, man.

[00:02:44] Alexa: Oh, my God. Well, I wish you all the luck in the world. I wish I could help you from Paris, but-

[00:02:49] Tyson: You're just like drinking a glass of wine.

[00:02:51] Alexa: I'm having a glass of wine. I'm in Paris this week. I don't know. I'm actually drinking wine because I'm studying for the SHRM exam, which warrants a lot of alcohol, but we could talk about that at another time.

[00:03:02] Tyson: As she takes a sip.

[00:03:06] Alexa: I'm trying to get people to watch the YouTube, just so they can watch me drink wine like an asshole.

[00:03:10] Tyson: The pausing is Alexa drinking. When she's not talking, she's drinking.

[00:03:12] Alexa: Yes, if I'm not talking, I'm drinking. It's a good way to get me to shut the fuck up. Speaking of which, I need to do my top of the episode duties here, which is tell everybody that today's episode is brought to you by our squad at the People Ops Society. Join Tyson, myself, a bunch of our guests, and a lot of our listeners at the POPS community forum. Download awesome resources and templates shared by peers. Get access to cool free resources like Tyson's Art of Compensation course, which is available on demand on August 15th to all members.

You can use the code PEOPLEPROBLEMS at peopleopssociety.com to get 20% off your membership today. Again, use the code PEOPLEPROBLEMS, all caps, all one word at peopleopssociety.com, and please make sure to follow us on all things social @peopleproblemspod, hr.shook, and by the time of this recording, I think I'll officially be theinfluenchr on all things social, which is influenchr spelled with an HR at the end because I'm so fucking clever, and I'm very proud of myself for that one. It's time to grow up from alexabagadonuts, and here I am. That's what I got. You ready to move on to POPS in the News?

[00:04:12] Tyson: Let's do it.


[00:04:23] Alexa: This one, I have to get a little angry about because, well, it's just ridiculous, but WorkLife published an article called The Next C-Suite Role is the Chief Trust Officer, which is encharged with ensuring company integrity and making sure companies have ethical intent behind their decisions. I'm not even going to explain this article because it's pretty fucking explanatory what it's talking about, but some of the alarming statistics or things that come out of this article are that it says by the end of the year, the International Data Corporation predicts that half of Global 2000 companies will have filled this role.

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 40% of customers stop doing business with brands they love if something happens to damage trust in them. Okay, cool. That makes sense. Then, it just goes on to talk about how a bunch of companies are doing this. It's focused on making sure employees, stakeholders, and customers have trust in the business, and that this whole thing is about more than corporate statements and branding, and that some serious brands are basically taking it seriously, like Airbnb, and Salesforce, and some of these guys. I don't know if you had any other major takeaways, Tyson, but what do you think about the chief trust officer?

[00:05:38] Tyson: Other than the fact that we just went from 2022 to 1984, I immediately think of Ministry of Truth, or what do they call it? Mini-Tru or whatever. I don't know, first of all-

[00:05:55] Alexa: Read Nineteen Eighty-Four, people. If you have not read Nineteen Eighty-Four, it's both incredible and alarming.

[00:05:59] Tyson: It's amazing. I actually just read it this year. My husband pushed me, pushed me, pushed me. He loves dystopian novels.

[00:06:03] Alexa: I read it technically in high school, but I just reread it with a book club maybe in the last three years.

[00:06:08] Tyson: Yes. Reread it.

[00:06:09] Alexa: It's worth reading as an adult. Everything you read in high school, I believe is worth rereading as an adult. I'm slowly learning that. You just get a lot from that.

[00:06:16] Tyson: Because they were actually good books. They make us read good books.

[00:06:20] Alexa: We're just too fucking stupid and real horny to actually takes up any of it.

[00:06:27] Tyson: Man. Anyways, this is what I find interesting about this particular role is that typically the value in a role such as encouraging ethics, et cetera, the value is when that role is someone outside of the organization. For example, let's say that this is really something that's needed, like some sort of investigation into ethical behavior, at least in Canada, a lot of our government authorities have resources that you could call on to do these types of things that are outside and unbiased.

This is why you call people outside of the company to do investigations like this. I imagine that anything, what is it? The SEC or something. Wait, maybe it's not that. There's a governing board or someone I think that can investigate. Maybe, it's the FBI that can investigate companies that are doing shady shit, can't they?

[00:07:17] Alexa: I love that you're just guessing at American entities with three letters, the CIA, the FBI.

[00:07:23] Tyson: I don't know. There is someone out there that if someone's doing something shady that affects the stock market, they're going to be investigating it.

[00:07:30] Alexa: Yes. There's a couple of different entities. Depending on what it is, they can investigate stuff like this. All kinds of white-collar shit.

[00:07:35] Tyson: If the Ministry of Truth is like, "We did nothing wrong." Wait, sorry, what are they called? Chief trust officers. "We did nothing wrong." It's like, "Aren't they still going to get-- What's the value of that? They're still going to get investigated by the FBI.

[00:07:48] Alexa: Yes. I actually did not take this to be the equivalent role of someone who's like a chief ethics officer. I took this as someone who's the figurehead for decisions that involve shit that people are going to wind up being like, "What?" When Facebook has a data privacy issue, there's a person in charge of how that gets taken by the broader public, stakeholders, and customers, and employees.

I'll be honest, I read this article and rolled my fucking eyes maybe harder than I have rolled them in a while because I'm like, "I'm sorry, isn't this the CEO and everyone's job?" If you need a chief trust officer, for me, that's a red flag. It's like, "Where is your employer branding? What the fuck is your C-suite doing?

[00:08:36] Tyson: That's exactly what I'm saying. Let's take a lesson from Nineteen Eighty-Four, in that the Ministry of Truth was in fact rewriting history and changing things to make it look like all this stuff that didn't ever happen, that they were rewriting. That's how I feel about an internal chief trust officer. I trust you less than I've ever trusted anyone in my entire life.

[00:09:00] Alexa: Right. It's funny. I was just listening to-- Sam Harris had Marc Andreessen, the founder of Andreessen Horowitz on his podcast. I have to finish the segment, so I can't speak to it just yet. He was talking about basically how his trust in institutions is actually too high. It's actually a lot of the distrust we're experiencing with institutions is in a way actually healthy for society.

This says, to quote the article "Chief trust officers would pay close attention to customer needs regarding data and trust, advocate for trust-centric decisions on the executive level, and create company-wide initiatives," which is like, "Isn't that just the basis of every fucking decision you're supposed to make as a company anyway?" If you're not paying attention to what the trust implications are of the decisions you're making as a team, let alone a public fucking company, a Global 2000 business, as it lists in the article, being the people to adopt this. What the fuck are you doing? I don't know. This one was a big, "What the fuck?" for me, kind of a big facepalm moment.

I actually would be very curious to hear our guest's thoughts on this. I'm going to take a hot second and introduce our dear friend, Jon Hyman. We are back for part two with Jon, who is a partner at Wickens Herzer and Panza. He's a lawyer for employers and craft breweries, which is a fun duality there. He is the master of workplace [unintelligible 00:10:20], and probably one of my Top 3 favorite people to follow on LinkedIn. Jon, welcome back. We're stoked to have you here. We're going to talk about all the fun parts of union avoidance in a hot second but would love to hear how you're feeling about the chief trust officer.

[00:10:36] Jon Hyman: First of all, thanks for having me back. I guess I did all right the first time because I'm back for Round 2. I agree with you. It's complete horseshit. That's what the company's supposed to do. If your C-suite feels need to elevate someone or hire someone and make the person in charge of trust-

[00:10:56] Alexa: Chief scapegoat officer.

[00:10:58] Jon: Your C-suite's broken. They're not doing their job. That's what their job is. They have to throw out a big legal term. They have a fiduciary obligation to the organization to create trust within the organization. If they're not doing that, then you don't need to hire a trust officer, you need to hire a new CEO.

[00:11:18] Alexa: I would agree. Someone on your board needs to get fired. What the fuck? If you approve this position, what the fuck?

[00:11:24] Jon: You have failed in your mission as a corporation,

[00:11:28] Tyson: It just has the opposite effect of I think what they're expecting. They think that, "Oh, people will trust us more now," but it's like, "No, if you need this role--

[00:11:36] Alexa: I don't mean to say this the wrong way. This is going to sound fucked up and I'm sure I'll get shit for it no matter what, but it's a little like the token diversity officer. It's like, "Okay, well, now, we're creating this position," but what does that say about what you're actually trying to accomplish, and what's actually going on here? It shines a bigger light, and you're like, "Wait a minute."

[00:11:53] Jon: You're right. We shouldn't be focused on titles. We should be focused on what's actually happening within the organization. If you're bringing someone in to be the chief diversity officer, then obviously you have a diversity problem that needs to be fixed. Let's not put a title on someone, let's just fix the problem.

[00:12:09] Tyson: This might be a good time to use the word culture. When we think about-

[00:12:14] Alexa: I love when you use dirty words.

[00:12:16] Tyson: -the need to have a, like you mentioned, the diversity officer or a trust officer. This is when you know that there is something very wrong with the way that things are being done.

[00:12:29] Alexa: It's like when companies form a culture committee and you're like, "Oh, shit. Get out. This place's on fire, go."

[00:12:34] Tyson: The culture here is bad because, for me, the culture is not what you write on the wall, of course, but it's what actually happens at the company, blah, blah, blah, that good stuff, but these roles signal that this company has bad culture, so avoid at all costs.

[00:12:49] Alexa: I think, for me, what gets me pissed off about this is this and I wax poetic about this all day, so maybe this is why this gets me is there's this fucking disconnect between how employers perceive their brand and how they articulate it, and how they're running the business. Why on earth those two things would not be in lockstep with each other, I don't understand.

[00:13:12] Tyson: We live in a time of virtue signaling though. That's why. It's like, "Look at what we did over here. Ignore what's going on. Look at over here." We're not going to fix the actual problem.

[00:13:20] Alexa: It's all smoke and fucking mirrors. It's crazy. I'm sorry, but your employer brand from how you communicate to your employees, to the things you communicate to your shareholders, it all comes from the same idea of you have to promote what you're doing well, you have to communicate what you're not doing great at. This is literally like a chief scapegoat officer. It's like, "We have a trust problem. We'll just put it on this guy who's probably got a background in fucking PR and crisis management. We'll tell everybody it's fine." I know. It doesn't really allude to that.

[00:13:53] Tyson: Not law? I wonder if it'd be law.

[00:13:55] Alexa: I don't know.

[00:13:56] Jon: Probably HR.

[00:13:57] Tyson: Oh, fuck. God, no. Please don't.

[00:14:01] Alexa: 40% of the Fortune 2000 is about to hire it, so we'll have to see.

[00:14:05] Jon: I guess we're going to find out.

[00:14:06] Alexa: I'll take the bet on PR. If you want to take the bet on HR, Jon, we'll see.

[00:14:11] Jon: I think you're probably right that it's PR

[00:14:13] Alexa: I could see a lawyer. It's like politicians, let a lawyer-

[00:14:17] Tyson: If it's ethics, then it's going to be legal.

[00:14:18] Alexa: Chief trust officer feels like chief "take whatever shit you throw at me" officer. That's what it feels like to me.

[00:14:25] Tyson: We need to find one and get them on the podcast, ASAP [unintelligible 00:14:28].

[00:14:28] Alexa: Calling all chief trust officers. Now, that we've just bashed your entire existence, please come talk to us. If your company just hired one, let us know and tell us what you think about it and how it's going because I call bullshit on the whole experiment, as I think all three of us do.

All right, moving on. Excited to have you back, Jon. I've got no eloquent transition here. I'm just going to pivot us to the topic at hand today, which is based on this idea that there's been a lot of-- Curious to get your thoughts just on maybe how some of the tech layoffs and the impending recession are maybe changing some of these dynamics. Very recently, courtesy of a lot of the power dynamic shifting to the labor side of the employer labor market, there's been a lot of talk about groups like Starbucks, Amazon, we've talked about all of them on this podcast at this point, unions rearing their heads and some very famous anecdotes of an Amazon factory unionizing, a Starbucks unionizing, some examples of this being successful.

[00:15:27] Jon: 200 Starbucks and counting that have unionized to date.

[00:15:31] Alexa: Exactly. There's some real momentum around this happening, obviously seems to be in what you'd expect, I think hourly, service-based positions but want to hear a little bit from you today. I think we'd like to cover what are some of the cans and cannots of union organizing, and maybe for some people who don't have a whole lot of background here, maybe a little bit about where this regulation comes from to the extent that you have some background knowledge there, and just things to be aware of.

I think this gets talked about a lot. I don't think people, especially myself who haven't been through it before really understand what it means to experience someone who's trying to promote a union in a workplace, be maybe on the opposite side of someone who's receiving maybe some influence from someone who does not want a union to appear at the workplace, and all this some such fun that goes in between that.

[00:16:20] Jon: It's scary times for HR professionals because most have little to no heavy, on-the-know experience in union organizing campaigns, and what they can do, and what they can't do. A lot of it is counterintuitive.

[00:16:33] Alexa: Like what?

[00:16:35] Jon: I'll get to that in a second but counterintuitive in that with big consequences because if you screw it up, the potential is you're going to screw the company potentially into a union because you might win an election. By way of legal background, unions form in really one of two ways. Both start with the unions getting employees to sign what are called authorization cards. A union can present a majority of authorization cards. That's 50% plus one employee in the unit to the employer and say, "Will you voluntarily recognize us?"

If the employer doesn't, then it goes to a secret ballot election that's run by the National Labor Relations Board, which is the federal agency that oversees union-management relations here in the States. If you screw up, you might get an election that you win as an employer ordered to be rerun in a worst-case scenario because the NLRB requires elections to be held in what the board calls laboratory conditions. Think of a white, sterile, clean laboratory.

If something damages those laboratory conditions irrevocably to where the board can't recreate them, then the board's going to say, "We can't run a fair election because, employer, what you did, so you're stuck with this union now. You're ordered to bargain with this union. We're just going to certify the union, and now you're stuck with it." Big consequences for HR professionals that are the ones that are going to be on the front line of this union organizing if the union comes knocking.

[00:18:02] Tyson: I will just say very quickly from a Canadian perspective, it's exactly What you said. Just if anyone's wondering in Canada, it's the same exact thing here.

[00:18:11] Alexa: Maybe, let's paint the story for people, again, who maybe don't have experience with this, or don't know what this looks like, or just are thinking of unions as people with pitchforks. I always think of the big rat.

[00:18:23] Jon: Scabby the Rat?

[00:18:24] Alexa: Yes, Scabby the Rat. In New York City, I used to walk to work, and undoubtedly, once a month, I would see him somewhere on some sidewalk in front of some building that they were picketing and whatever. I think people have a very caricature idea of unionizing and all of these things. Let's talk a little bit, Jon, just for people to paint the picture here of a little bit about what this starts to look like in terms of actual behaviors and maybe some of the- You mentioned this largely affects HR, but I imagine there's a few fires that start to go off across an organization where maybe you would pick up on some of this momentum.

[00:19:03] Jon: There are signals that you can see that suggest that a union might be poking around. One of them would be people in the parking lot that you don't recognize that are just hanging around, talking to employees as they come out of the workplace. That's one really obvious sign. The less obvious signs would be groups of employees that typically don't hang out together that are all of a sudden socializing, maybe having lunch together, or grabbing a smoke together that have never socialized together before. Now, they're all of a sudden socializing or communicating with each other.

It could be after-hours get-togethers, like happy hours that have historically taken place, meetings in bars after work. You have the right as the employer to limit union organizers' access to your facility, but once the workday is over, the employees are free to do whatever they want.

[00:19:53] Alexa: This is a very important point that, again, I'm actually asking, because I don't know all the ins and outs here. There's unions that have existing jurisdictions with types of laborers. You mentioned union organizers can come in and convince people to join an existing union. What about the formation of an organic union? How does that work?

[00:20:12] Jon: I think what you're talking about is unions like the construction industry, the electrical workers, or the plumbers or whatever, where to go on a construction site, the employer has an existing contract with a union and hires employees for jobs through a union hiring hall.

[00:20:30] Alexa: Like Local 152.

[00:20:32] Jon: Yes, you're right. That's not what we're seeing going on now. What we're seeing now is unions forming almost out of thin air in businesses that have never had to deal with labor unions before. You have a union organizer, which is an individual that is an employee of the labor union and his or her job is to form unions, that's collective groups of employees, within workplaces.

[00:21:02] Alexa: In the Starbucks example, those are retail or service coffee workers. I don't know their exact title, so forgive me. The Baristas Union of the United States already exists, or of North America. I don't know.

[00:21:16] Jon: Starbucks, actually, the employees formed their own union, the Starbucks Workers Union. They created a new union almost out of thin air.

[00:21:24] Alexa: In this example, is that union organizer a Starbucks employee?

[00:21:28] Jon: In this example, that union organizer probably is a Starbucks employee. They're getting assistance from behind the scenes from existing labor unions. They're not on their own.

[00:21:38] Alexa: That's the missing link. There we go. That's what I'm looking for. The difference between who's doing the influencing. I know there's lots of nonprofits that support union formation for various causes and whatever as well.

[00:21:51] Tyson: Oftentimes, I think how it happens is there's obviously a group of disgruntled employees that get to chit-chatting, and then they can find a union that covers their scope, something that's similar. If they can find another union out there that's similar that they could cover.

Then, what typically happens is there's ringleaders within the organization that are employees. It's usually a very charismatic person that people like. The union outside, non-employees, try to get this ringleader or a couple of people, which then disperse throughout the company to try to get as many people onto that as Jon was mentioning earlier that preliminary ballot vote or whatever just to say, "We have permission," the authorization.

[00:22:33] Jon: Definitely, happening now. I think what makes the current landscape so unique is that we haven't had unionization like this in the US in 40 or 50 years where employees-- Unions haven't been on employees' radars, period. Now, they are really very much on employees' radars. Everybody's talking about it. You can't open up a newspaper magazine, or put on the news, or go on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever, and not see a story about a union organizing somewhere.

It is very much on employees' minds right now. Employees, particularly in the hospitality and service-based industries, retail, are hyper-focused, and every hospitality, retail employer should be scared shitless that employees are trying to do this.

[00:23:22] Tyson: I guess, we've got the perfect disaster because when Alexa was introducing this, it was like, "We're in this employee-favored environment, which usually doesn't result in unions." Usually, when the employees are just getting all the money, it doesn't result in unions. I know here, at our McDonald's, we have a sign outside that says, "Starting wage's $19 an hour."

[00:23:44] Alexa: It's $25 in the US.

[00:23:47] Tyson: Yes. Usually, that doesn't happen. What I think is funny is we saw how delicate restaurants was through the pandemic. They got hit the hardest. A lot of those people quit, et cetera. Now, we're in this bit of a boom, but we are quickly accelerating downhill to this point of recession where people would be very lucky to be a part of a union, I think. If that makes sense. Now, it's "Get organizing."

[00:24:12] Jon: You're right. You're going to start to see that messaging coming out of the labor unions, which is before your company has to start laying people off, the recession is coming, you need the protections of a labor union. We've had the perfect storm on the front end of the pandemic to lead to the wave of unionization. What's going on in the economy right now was leading with inflation and then leading into a recession is playing into unions' hands as well. It's been an absolute perfect storm.

[00:24:42] Alexa: Let's talk a little bit about some of the dynamics here just from a macro level. Then, let's talk about this on a micro level. You mentioned we've got this perfect storm, Tyson's identified this very crazy dynamic between the market and the labor market about to be a weird crossroads. I'm just going to throw out some crazy examples, what's, for example, to keep an employer from just saying, "Well, we're just going to fire everybody and hire a whole new workforce that doesn't want to unionize."? "Well before it's even an issue, we're just going to let the whole place go and rehire everybody."

[00:25:17] Tyson: Walmart did that in Canada. Their people started organizing and they fucking shut down the store. Done. There's no Walmart there anymore in that town.

[00:25:28] Jon: Well, that's happening right now with Chipotle. It's the first Chipotle to organize in, I want to say it's Augusta, Maine, somewhere in Maine. It was the first Chipotle to have employees organize. They just shut the store down. Their argument was that "We've had a hard time staffing the store. We're having a hard time finding workers to work, so we're just going to shut the store down." Coincidentally, it's also the only store that's attempting to organize right now, and it's also very illegal to shut down an operation in order to discourage other workers from elsewhere attempting to form a union. If Chipotle shut down every Chipotle store in the US, that's perfectly legal. You can do that. You can-

[00:26:10] Tyson: How are they getting away with it?

[00:26:12] Jon: They're not, or they haven't gotten away with it. The union is going to file or has filed unfair labor practice charges with The National Labor Relations Board, claiming discrimination and retaliation. It remains to be seen whether Chipotle will get away with it.

We're seeing it at Starbucks too. Starbucks just announced the closure of, I want to say 16 stores around the country. Of those 16 stores, 20% of them are trying to form a union, and we're going to see unfair labor practice charges come out of those closures as well, different situation. It feels really different because you have a built-in argument that we closed 16 stores for health and safety reasons. 3 of them were organizing, 13 of them weren't.

[00:26:53] Alexa: This isn't about organizing.

[00:26:55] Jon: This isn't about organizing. The Chipotle case feels really different because this is the first store that's organized. If I'm the union or the lawyers representing the union, I'm saying, "You are trying to send a message to every other Chipotle worker in the US. If you organize, you're going to lose your job," and that's just flat-out illegal.

[00:27:15] Alexa: That's good to know. I love that that's illegal. However, from the business side of this, what kind of argument do you have to make as the National Labor Relations Board to combat what could just be common sense business practice, which is one, that store was underperforming? I'm going to venture to guess. I don't know anything about Chipotle, but I'm going to assume that they are nationally owned, that those are not franchised or chain-organized. I think they're not independently owned.

[00:27:42] Jon: I know. I think they're all corporate-owned.

[00:27:44] Alexa: Yes. If they were a franchise, then that's like a whole different fucking ball of wax, but this is a corporate decision, national level decision. You could make the argument, for example, that store, regardless of union labor or not, was only going to do 15% margins. All our other stores do 20%. We shut it down, could be because of the price of labor, could be not.

[00:28:05] Jon: It could be. What I want to know if Chipotle-- I'm not Chipotle's lawyer. I'm here if they want to hire me, but if I'm Chipotle's lawyer, I want to know the demographics of all the other stores they didn't close and all their other stores that have the same performance issues, the same hiring issues, the same financial performance-

[00:28:22] Alexa: What's the unique situation about this performance that warranted-

[00:28:26] Jon: -that have not organized. If there's other stores that look similar but without the union that are still open, that's going to be a really hard case for me to make.

[00:28:37] Alexa: Let's say that they hear the union is threatening to organize, and the union workers want, Tyson's example, they want $19 an hour, and Chipotle looks at that and goes, "Cool. If we pay these guys $19 an hour, it is not worth having a fucking store open. We're just going to shut this shit down and move on."

[00:28:51] Jon: Well, it's two different issues. The process comes in two steps. Step one is organizing. A majority of workers have to vote to be represented by the union. Once that happens, that's where this Chipotle store is now. They haven't had the vote yet. They've presented the cards and the NLRB is going to hold a vote. If a majority of employees vote the union, yes. Yes, we want to be represented by a union, then the NLRB certifies that union as those employees' exclusive representative for purposes of collective bargaining. Then, the employer has an obligation to sit down with the union and bargain in good faith to reach a collective bargaining agreement. That's where the money comes in.

[00:29:31] Alexa: That's when Chipotle says, "If you demand for $19 an hour, we'll just go out of business. We'll just shut the store down."

[00:29:36] Jon: Yes. The power that the employer has at the bargaining table, as long as an employers bargain in good faith, an employer can always bargain to an impasse and then implement its last offer once it reaches impasse.

[00:29:50] Alexa: Impasse being this is the part where it breaks down. If we go any further here-

[00:29:54] Tyson: We can't make a decision.

[00:29:55] Alexa: -there's no deal. The no-deal point.

[00:29:57] Jon: Correct.

[00:29:59] Tyson: Just to be clear, everybody votes, but even if you voted that you don't want a union, everybody has to be part of the union. All the employees have to be part of the union

[00:30:09] Jon: Part of a union. Unless you're in what's called a right-to-work state. There's 20, give or take, right-to-work states in the US. They tend to lean pretty heavily red in their demographics, states that are right to work. Right to work means that if you work at a union facility, you don't have to join the union as an employee. If you're not in a right-to-work state, I'm in Ohio, Ohio is not a right-to-work state, it means that you have to join the union, whether you favor the union or not.

[00:30:40] Alexa: Do you have an idea what the idea behind that is? Is it just consistency of implementation? What's the spirit behind that?

[00:30:47] Jon: Behind the right to work?

[00:30:49] Alexa: No, behind the opposite of the right to work.

[00:30:51] Jon: All the employees are going to get the benefit of the collective bargaining agreement anyway.

[00:30:56] Alexa: Assuming there's benefit,

[00:30:58] Jon: Assuming there's a benefit. You're going to be governed by the same agreement.

[00:31:00] Tyson: Well, imagine how messy that would be if it came time to like do layoffs or something, it's like, "Oh, shit. I guess we got to keep all the people that are part of the union and lay off everybody else." Salary increase time, they could be like, "All right, well, everyone at the union, you get a ¢10 increase. Everybody else, you get a $5 increase." How messy would that be?

[00:31:17] Jon: Even the right-to-work states though, you're still governed by the collective bargaining agreement. They just can't require you to pay union dues. That's the difference.

[00:31:23] Tyson: To pay dues?

[00:31:24] Jon: Yes.

[00:31:25] Alexa: Oh, interesting. You still have to be paid and rewarded the same way as the union employees, you just don't have to pay the dues.

[00:31:33] Jon: Yes. You just don't pay the dues. It's a mess.

[00:31:35] Alexa: I assume you don't get representation if something pops off?

[00:31:39] Jon: Right.

[00:31:39] Tyson: That's interesting.

[00:31:40] Alexa: That's interesting. I don't love that part of this. Interesting. I thought it was like, "No, I'm a free agent, man. Pay me what I'm worth." Got it. This makes a lot more sense. I see. These are the nuances of this shit that I didn't know any of this.

[00:31:53] Tyson: That's where it is different in Canada. We don't have that here. I think for the most part, if the union forms, everybody's in, except for managers, obviously, and HR.

[00:32:04] Alexa: Anything else on a macro level in terms of how the process is forming or that people maybe don't-- that we need to talk about on a macro level, Jon, you think in terms of unions?

[00:32:15] Jon: No, I think we're good on the macro level.

[00:32:16] Alexa: Let's talk about the micro level, which is how you actually-- Phase 1, and then we've got Phase 2. Let's go through Phase 1, which is common examples of how this stuff starts to happen, what you can do, what you can't do, and maybe some common pitfalls that you've seen in all this hoopla recently.

[00:32:31] Jon: Yes. Well, what you can't do the acronym that we typically use is called TIPS. T is for threats. I is for interrogation. P is for promises. S is for surveillance or spying. Those are the four-

[00:32:44] Alexa: Just like dating.

[00:32:46] Jon: Yes. Those are the four things you can't do as an employer-

[00:32:51] Alexa: I hope everyone can see Tyson's cringe face that you just made to me.

[00:32:55] Jon: -during an organizing campaign. I love you, guys. You can't threaten workers. You can't interrogate workers about whether they support or not support the union, they're going to vote or not vote for the union. You can't make promises like, "If you don't vote for the union, we're going to give you more money. We'll give you more benefits, or promote you," or whatever. Then, you can't spy on your employees. You can't send a supervisor to the bar to see-

[00:33:20] Alexa: They'd send HR.

[00:33:22] Jon: They would, but you can't send the HR, probably the HR generalist out to the bar-

[00:33:31] Tyson: Yes, we're cool.

[00:33:32] Jon: -to see which employees are meeting with or meeting with the union organizer.

[00:33:35] Tyson: We finally get invited to the party, and then we're spies.

[00:33:38] Alexa: It's a red flag when HR shows up at the happy hour.

[00:33:42] Jon: Get your trench coat, your monocle, and your little what's the-- the camera. Exactly.


[00:33:51] Tyson: That's great.

[00:33:53] Alexa: That all sounds great, but I feel like those are some fucking gray lines. What are some really common either, maybe in interrogations or promises that people slip into that they just maybe don't realize?

[00:34:10] Jon: The best example, at least on the promise side is adjustment of grievances is a big no-no during union organizing. You can't tell employees you're going to fix things in their favor if there's generalized complaints that you're aware of because the implication is that you're fixing it because you want to make things better for employees, so they'll favor the employer over the union.

When the Apple Store was being organized in Maryland, Apple's-- I don't know what her title is, I think she's Chief People Officer, I think that's what her title is at Apple, anyway, goes to the store in Maryland and tells the employees like, "Just tell me what your issues are. We want to make things better for you. We'll fix them," which is a huge no-no in union organizing because you are essentially implicitly promising employees that you're going make the workplace a better place for them if they don't unionize.

[00:35:07] Tyson: Sounds like bribing.

[00:35:09] Jon: That's a big no-no that a lot of employers inadvertently fall into because presumably, you want to help employees and make things better for them. You just can't tell them you're going to do it during organizing.

[00:35:24] Tyson: Wait, what can we do? Because I thought that you could actually do that. I'm going to be honest. I thought that that was one of the things we were allowed to do is to be like, "Hey guys, let's have a kumbaya moment and see what are your issues and how we can fix them." I thought we could be that.

[00:35:35] Alexa: Is it just past the point of the 51 votes? Is that the key line of the sand here?

[00:35:40] Jon: It's actually before the vote's taken. This is while organizing is going on.

[00:35:45] Alexa: Is there an official process that would mark, "I know my employees are organizing."? Because if people are out at the bars chatting about organizing and you're in the C-suite, you have no fucking idea for three more weeks.

[00:35:56] Jon: It's when the union presents the signed card to the National Labor Relations Board, and the NLRB then sends notes to the employer saying-

[00:36:02] Alexa: Right, so that's the line in the sand.

[00:36:04] Jon: That's the line.

[00:36:05] Alexa: You can't do anything after that that's just trying to make shit right.

[00:36:08] Jon: Correct.

[00:36:09] Tyson: I will say, in my experience, you find out really quick. It's not like, "Oh, they're organized," and all of a sudden, the CEO's thrown off guard. It's, for some reason, very obvious. Word gets out very quickly, and there's always a snitch that tells somebody in HR, and we find out. At least in my experience, I've only experienced that one time, and it wasn't even my group, but when it started, we found out very, very quickly.

[00:36:35] Jon: If you have 100 employees, not all 100 are going to support the union. When the organizer goes to the employee that doesn't support the union and says, "Hey, sign this card," management's going to find out pretty quickly, but by that point, the union's already talking to employees. Really, like y'all mentioned the culture word earlier, really at the end of the day, that's what this all comes down to in that you want to have a culture in your business where employees don't feel that they need to go outside the organization to a union for representation.

[00:37:11] Alexa: They don't need to go us versus them.

[00:37:13] Jon: Right. They can go to management, get problems fixed. They have a voice. They have respect. There's a mutual understanding between management and the employees. If that's broken in your organization, then your organization is one that's ripe for unionization, and there might not be much you can do about it.

[00:37:26] Tyson: Are you allowed to explain to employees the cons of joining a union? Like, "Just so you know, you're going to have to pay dues, and we're not going to be able to do pay for performance anymore, so all your salaries are going to get capped."

[00:37:40] Jon: You are allowed to provide facts, you're allowed to offer your opinion on labor unions, and you're allowed to give examples of situations where unions either did a bad thing, or were corrupt, or didn't work out in the employee's favor, or whatever. Facts, opinions, examples are the three things you can say during organizing. You can say, "Just because you've signed cards and voted for the union doesn't mean you're going to get the $5 an hour raise the union's promising you. We all have to sit down and bargain. Through bargaining, we're going to decide what those terms and conditions are. It might be what you're looking for. It might not be what you're looking for."

You can tell employees that decisions are made based on seniority not based on performance once a union comes in. You can tell employees that the union becomes your exclusive representative, and we might not be able to have a conversation between you and your supervisor about what you don't like about what's going on at work because that has to go through the union. You can absolutely express to employees your view of what the cons of unions are in general when they come in.

[00:38:48] Alexa: You just can't say you're going to fix it if they don't join.

[00:38:51] Jon: Correct, or "We're going to fire you," or "We're going to cut your wages," or what Starbucks just did which is, "Give a pay raise to all the non-union stores and not give a pay raise to the stores that are organizing."

[00:39:03] Alexa: How the fuck did they not know that was a terrible idea?

[00:39:07] Jon: I'm not going to shit on other lawyers, but they're getting advice from their lawyers. A corporation like Starbucks, a multibillion-dollar international corporation is absolutely getting advice from their lawyers as to what they can and can't do. I wouldn't have given that advice, but the advice very well could be that "Yes, this is illegal and you might get slapped down if you do this, but our experience tells us that the impact might be that it might cut unionization rates at future stores by X%, so it might be a risk worth taking."

[00:39:38] Alexa: Yes, because it gives every employee the "What if they give us a pay raise, and I'm in the union, and I don't fucking get it?" It puts it right on the table for them.

[00:39:46] Tyson: Right. It's a signal for sure. Like I said earlier, I studied this back when I was in college, Walmart is the ultimate union dodger. They get away with stuff all the time because they're this mega-corporation. I don't know all the details and exactly how they get away with things.

[00:40:02] Alexa: The most successful corporation in the first world.

[00:40:05] Jon: There have been very few successful organizing campaigns at Walmart, period. The ones that are, they just bargain them. They're just grinding that bargaining. They'll bargain for five years and just wait for the union to go away. They're like, "We're just not going to give you a contract." They'll do enough so it looks like good faith and you'll just keep bargain, and bargain, and bargain, and bargain, never reach an agreement, and eventually, the union just gives up and goes away.

[00:40:29] Tyson: That's not a best practice, though.

[00:40:31] Alexa: It's not a best practice. It's also a very expensive practice. You have to be fucking Walmart to pull that shit off. Walmart actually does, of all the things I know about Walmart, which is definitely not enough, does actually do a lot more than some very basic employers in terms of how they do benefits and scheduling. They have management programs. They're a lot more civilized an employer than some examples of this shit. Amazon has people peeing in fucking bottles. They're not that.

[00:40:59] Tyson: No, I feel like Walmart was the Amazon of the past because Walmart did have a lot of sketchy shit happen actually. I remember sitting down with an employment lawyer. We have this thing in Canada where you can look up all the cases. I'm sure you guys have something in the States as well. Maybe, it's a common law thing, I don't know, but you can look up all the details of cases. We were just going through case after case at Walmart of assaults and bullying. There was a lot of stuff going on there. Maybe, it's cleaned up.

I actually have one-- I can tell a quick story about Walmart. I worked for a company, and my company was on a site where the Walmart employee was. They were working on a Walmart store renovations or something. Our employee complained about a bully, a Walmart employee, so it was our job to investigate it. Walmart comes in with an investigator. They have actual investigators. That's their job. All they do is investigate stuff. Anyways, so she came in, she did her whole investigation. Everything wrapped up, blah, blah, blah.

She sends me her report. Not only does she find that the Walmart employee was not bullying, but it was actually our employee that was the bully was the conclusion. It was hilarious. I've never seen anything like it in my life. We were like, "What the fuck?" It was completely wrong. We had so many other things happening on our end, but what's funny is down the road, maybe a few months, maybe three to five months, the employee who we claimed was the bully was terminated, that Walmart employee. They came back to us, and they were like, "No, you bullied." Then, they got rid of this guy. It was so bizarre, bizarre.

[00:42:36] Alexa: Interesting. Well, enough lawyers will take care of just about anything, I think. It actually leads me to a really good question, which is I want to just for a hot second before I do want to actually get to union busting in a second, what are some of the things that you've seen on the other side of this, Jon? Shit that employees have done that are trying to maybe make the case for a union, or trying to start these efforts, or are well into these efforts, and they fuck it up? What are some common pitfalls that employees maybe don't understand and their responsibility in this process?

[00:43:08] Jon: They have obligations to be honest and truthful as well. The unions do to their members. It typically becomes a lot more difficult to hang a union for that than for an employer. The National Labor Relations Board is historically pro-employee. Even more so now, this is the most aggressive, most pro-union NLRB we've had ever in the United States, so the odds of a union getting called on the carpet for doing something now is really, really, really slim.

[00:43:40] Alexa: Sorry, the National Labor Relations Board, is that appointed?

[00:43:44] Jon: Appointed by the President. It's a five-member board. The party in the White House appoints three members from their party. There has to be two from the minority party, but President also appoints the general counsel, which decides what policies to advance and what issues to bring the complaint. That's where we typically see the most aggressive what I call it legislating because they decide what issues to bring before the board by issuing complaints.

The current general counsel of the NLRB has set out a hyper-pro-union aggressive agenda for changes that she wants to see. They're not laws and regulations, so you don't need Congress to pass this or rubber stamp it. The NLRB just sets the rules as it wants to set the rules.

[00:44:30] Alexa: I don't know if Canada's similar. That's interesting to know.

[00:44:33] Tyson: It's the same idea. We have a government branch that would look after something similar.

[00:44:40] Alexa: Cool. Got you. What are some of the things? Sorry, I cut you off because I wanted to clarify that.

[00:44:44] Jon: No. It's the same. You can't flat-out lie to employees, things like sabotage, violence. We've seen examples of overt racism and sexism towards anti-union workers. Those are all things that can't happen during union organizing. It could potentially get the union in trouble.

[00:45:04] Tyson: I think also doing it on company time is like a big no-no, right?

[00:45:08] Jon: Yes, thank you it is. Work time is work time and assuming the employer has an appropriate, non-solicitation rule in place in their handbook and enforces it consistently, so it's not being done discriminatory just to single out the pro-union workers, an employer can absolutely limit this to non-workspaces, not work time.

[00:45:27] Alexa: I would assume that's probably where people fuck this up the most.

[00:45:30] Tyson: Yes, in the bathrooms.

[00:45:31] Alexa: Just stupid shit.

[00:45:33] Tyson: Just chatting in the boardrooms

[00:45:34] Jon: From the employer's point where the employer can screw it up is are you targeting these employees for discipline because they're talking about union stuff, or are you targeting them because they're talking about something other than work on work time, so you can't just single out the union people.

[00:45:50] Alexa: Right, fascinating, but what if the union people are the only people talking shit, taking extra five minutes on their break time to talk about unionizing

[00:45:57] Jon: Fire them.

[00:45:59] Alexa: Isn't that discrimination for organizing?

[00:46:03] Tyson: Maybe, that's why Amazon tracks everyone's bathroom breaks. Fuck.

[00:46:07] Jon: If they're legitimately violating a work rule, and you're not enforcing that work rule discriminatory. They don't get a free pass. They're held to the same standards as everybody else.

[00:46:16] Alexa: You just have to be enforcing everybody's going five minutes over their break consistently. You should just do that fucking anyway. That's just human team dynamics 101 is like you have to be consistent, or back to the beginning of this episode, no one will fucking trust you. All right. Speaking of which, I'm actually very curious about this now that we're this far into this conversation, and I feel like I could ask so many questions about this, but how does a union get dissolved, or does that just basically not ever happen? Is it possible for employees to go, "The union can't represent us."?

[00:46:47] Tyson: Unionize.

[00:46:48] Alexa: Yes, literally, unionize.

[00:46:50] Jon: This sounds so nerdy, but the most exciting night of my career as a lawyer or one of them was watching the votes get counted in a dissolution election. It was-

[00:47:01] Alexa: You're right, Jon, that does sound pretty nerdy.

[00:47:03] Jon: I know. 33 votes it was 17 to 16. We won by-

[00:47:06] Alexa: Although, I'm over here at midnight everybody talking about HR, drinking wine, so who am I to judge?

[00:47:11] Jon: We won by one vote. It was awesome.

[00:47:13] Alexa: Labor lawyer Super Bowl right there.

[00:47:16] Jon: Absolutely. It's called a decertification. Employees can file a petition for decertification. Again, where employers can screw this up is employers cannot play any role whatsoever in the filing of a petition, so they can't suggest the idea to employees. They can't plant any earworms in employees' ears, say, "Hey, if you're tired of this union, this is how you can get rid of it." The case I was involved in, a group of employees who were disgruntled with the labor union came to a supervisor, said, "Hey, we want to get rid of the union, what do we do?"

The supervisor knew enough to know he didn't know the answer or know what to do, so he went to HR. HR knew enough to know they didn't know, called me, and I told them what to say, which is you say, "Here's the number for your local National Labor Relations Board office. They'll be able to answer your question for you," which is really all you can say in that situation. If you give the employees any assistance whatsoever in putting that decertification petition together, you screwed yourself. You're going to be stuck with the union.

[00:48:22] Alexa: That's so touchy.

[00:48:24] Jon: Now, once the petition's filed, it's run like any other NLRB election, the employer can have its say, can offer its opinion on why the employee should or shouldn't vote to dissolve the union and everything else.

[00:48:36] Alexa: Is it the same original process in reverse though? Like they've got to have the same amount of participation to dissolve as they do to implement, or is it far higher or lower?

[00:48:45] Jon: No, it's a majority of votes cast.

[00:48:48] Alexa: Okay, got it. Oh, a majority of votes cast.

[00:48:51] Jon: Yes.

[00:48:53] Alexa: You don't necessarily have to vote if you're in the union.

[00:48:55] Jon: Right.

[00:48:56] Alexa: Interesting. Fascinating. Okay, so if you just don't show up, that's one thing, but what if they conveniently host the vote on a time where-

[00:49:06] Jon: That's all agreed upon by the union and the employer. It's set at a predetermined time in a predetermined place.

[00:49:12] Alexa: The union, I assume can't interfere either.

[00:49:16] Jon: Correct.

[00:49:17] Alexa: If someone comes to the union and says, "We want to get rid of you," they can't be like, "Are you sure?"

[00:49:22] Jon: Correct.

[00:49:24] Alexa: It's a lot of good faith in these interactions.

[00:49:27] Jon: A lot.

[00:49:28] Alexa: I imagine it gets litigated a lot. Fascinating. All right, awesome. Well, sadly, as fascinating as this is, we need to move on our People Problem.


[00:49:49] Alexa: What do you got, Tyson?

[00:49:51] Tyson: All right. Listener question is how do you deal with sensitive people in the workplace, for example, people whose feelings get hurt by everything?

[00:49:59] Alexa: Great question for a lawyer. What do you think, Jon?

[00:50:04] Jon: Tell them to put on their big boy pants or big girl pants and just-

[00:50:08] Alexa: Big person pants?

[00:50:09] Jon: The big person pants, and just deal with it. Yes, there is sensitivity, and there is illegal harassment, et cetera. There's a line between the two. Look, if someone comes to HR and says, "So and so is doing X, Y, or Z," you got to address it, but there is definitely a line between you need to just politely tell someone you just have to suck it up and deal with it versus this is a legitimate cause for concern from an organizational standpoint.

[00:50:44] Tyson: Yes. I would say when people come to me and I can sense that it's more of a high sensitivity thing versus an actual problem, I always make sure that I'm getting that person who came to me to deal with the problem.

[00:50:57] Alexa: Wait, sorry. What's a high-sensitivity thing versus an actual problem?

[00:51:03] Tyson: Like my boss is bullying me. He told me that I can't be late again.

[00:51:09] Alexa: My Boss is bullying me by telling me to do my job.

[00:51:12] Tyson: By enforcing my job, that is really common, so that kind of thing.

[00:51:16] Jon: Billy works next to me and he chews his gum really loudly.

[00:51:19] Tyson: Oh, gosh. You know what though? I have had problems like that. Like someone's headphones are on too loud. Anyway, so in those types of situations, I never, ever, ever jump in as the HR hero to try to solve that person's problems. You put that shit right back on them, give them the tips on how to address it themselves, but if this was a situation where I was actually concerned about bullying, I would probably jump in and there's formal processes that you have to go through but in a situation where it's just high sensitivity, I don't put myself in front of those issues. I put them back on the person.

[00:51:56] Alexa: I think that's the only answer. My first question is always have you addressed this with that person? What do you want me to fucking do about it if you haven't talked about it to them yet? I'm supposed to come at them with a third-party opinion here and just fix your shit for you? No, address it.

[00:52:12] Tyson: I don't know.

[00:52:14] Alexa: Okay. Do you think they're going to get this message about how to fix their relationship with you better from you or from me? Because I'm going to venture to guess some of my own bias is going to get in there if I have to do this. Have you addressed that with them yet? Because if you haven't addressed it with them yet, don't come to meet with your shit. We're all adults here.

[00:52:30] Jon: Yes. The exception being legitimate bona fide protected class harassment. The employee feels unsafe something-

[00:52:36] Alexa: 1000% and power dynamics. When the power dynamics are really off, I totally appreciate when someone is like, "Something is happening," with the caveat of, "Something is happening, I'm asking for help, or I'm asking for some influence here. What would you do? How can I address this," It's very different than coming to someone and saying, "I expect you to handle this for me because I complained." That's a very different way to approach a situation.

If you're going to come at me and complain about some shit, it better be some shit that is actually worthy of me getting invested in this situation and fixing it for you. If you haven't addressed the issue at all or even tried, it doesn't matter boss, subordinate, it doesn't matter, I'm not your first stop.

[00:53:15] Jon: I got news for you. With the generation of kids that are being raised with their parents fixing all their problems.

[00:53:20] Alexa: Fucking helicopter parents.

[00:53:24] Jon: Yes. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

[00:53:24] Tyson: I was just going to say that. Yes. In that situation, as the HR professional, I provide coaching, and I let them know why they don't want me to be involved.

[00:53:35] Alexa: Yes, of course. You don't want me to be involved for all the following reasons. Also, again, my biases about both of you are going to come into this situation, so it is not going to be resolved as optimally as possibly you'd like, but just don't come to someone else, especially your HR team, about some non-threatening shit that you have not at least tried to attempt to address.

[00:53:58] Tyson: It just looks so bad on you. It's just not a good look.

[00:54:01] Alexa: You look lazy, you look ignorant. Look, I get, sometimes, it's uncomfortable to have conversations with colleagues about shit that's uncomfortable, but that's part of being a fucking adult, pony up.

[00:54:13] Tyson: You know what's funny?

[00:54:14] Jon: Put on your big boy pants.

[00:54:15] Alexa: Yes, exactly.

[00:54:16] Tyson: If someone comes to me with a non-legit complaint like this, that's when I, unbeknownst to them, go back to the manager and do some secret digging. That's when I'm like, "How's your team doing? How's the performance of your team? How is so and so?"

[00:54:31] Alexa: How is so and so doing on your team?

[00:54:34] Tyson: Yes. All of a sudden, it's you know why we've had these issues, and then you know what? You've just opened a can of worms.

[00:54:40] Alexa: This is the unintended consequences of misusing your HR function is that this is going to come back to you.

[00:54:46] Tyson: Not to scare you from coming to your lovely HR team.

[00:54:48] Alexa: Not to scare you. HR is your friend, but-

[00:54:50] Tyson: We're your friend. Come talk to us.

[00:54:51] Alexa: -don't abuse that privilege. I just have to mention it because it makes me chuckle so hard. There's a really good SNL skit from forever ago with Kristen Wiig in it that's about a perfume brand called Red Flag. I don't know if you guys have seen it. It's very good. If you haven't seen it, you got to go watch it. It's very funny. It's about Kristen Wiig, she's a woman at a party that shows up. I'm going to butcher it, so I won't even try. She's got all these hysterical things happening, has never lived anywhere or held a job for more than a year, and just always vacationing in Europe when you see her at a party, like "Red Flag." They do it like a perfume. It's so funny. It's so funny.

I feel like there's a skit in our future about that, but this is definitely a "Red flag" when someone complains about some fucking nonsense. Yes, look, you've got to decide how sensitive and how appropriate it is for someone to be sensitive about what. Everyone has sensitivities. We all do. You just got to decide if that person is being appropriately sensitive for the situation and for your dynamic. All right, Jon, I hate to end this because it's so fun talking to you.

[00:55:58] Tyson: It went by so fast. Oh, my gosh.

[00:56:00] Alexa: I know. I don't know how. We've already been talking for an hour.

[00:56:02] Jon: Already looking forward to the threequel.

[00:56:04] Alexa: I know. you're just going to be a regular, I think. I think we're just going to have to have a regular standing date with you, Jon.

[00:56:10] Tyson: You're our resident employment lawyer.

[00:56:12] Alexa: You're our go-to guy. Where can people find you if they like what you have to say? Obviously, we like what you have to say, but remind the people where you're at.

[00:56:19] Jon: You can find me at wickenslaw.com. You can find me at ohioemployerlawblog.com. You can find me at ohiobeerlawyers.com.

[00:56:27] Alexa: Rolls off the tongue there, ohiolawlawyer.com?

[00:56:32] Jon: Ohiobeerlawyers.com.

[00:56:34] Alexa: That one's fun. What was the one before?

[00:56:37] Jon: Ohioemployerlawblog.com.

[00:56:39] Alexa: Employer Law Blog. Say that ten times, Employer Law Blog.

[00:56:43] Jon: I know. I've had it for 15 years, and there's no point in rebranding at this point.

[00:56:46] Alexa: I've actually read a couple of the articles, so I should not-- Again, it's actually a very good blog.

[00:56:49] Jon: I'm on LinkedIn and Twitter everywhere @Jonhyman. I'm easy to find.

[00:56:53] Tyson: Wait, if people think that their employees are organizing, they should call you?

[00:56:58] Jon: Absolutely, without hesitation.

[00:57:00] Alexa: I would second that vote. All right, Jon, it's been real.

[00:57:03] Jon: Awesome. Thank you, guys, so much.

[00:57:05] Tyson: Thanks.

[00:57:06] Alexa: Likewise.

[00:57:07] Tyson: Wait a minute. Before you leave, take some time to leave us a five-star rating. We'd really love your feedback. Also, if you'd like to see our lovely faces each week as we're recording these episodes, check us out on our new YouTube channel. Thanks.

[00:57:19] Alexa: This episode was executively produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at People Problems-

[00:57:31] [END OF AUDIO]

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