Labor Talks and Social Media

Labor Talks and Social Media

Labor negotiations used to be discussed behind closed doors. Now union members learn about contract proposals though websites and social media. When the United Auto Workers (UAW) negotiated contracts in 2011, the union and the employer set up secure websites that allowed workers to receive e-mail updates and post proposed contracts. Through Facebook, workers at plants in Kansas, Michigan, and Indiana could voice their concerns and ask questions directly to the bargaining teams. In other cases, the UAW used Facebook to dispel rumors being disseminated on plant floors and in the news media rather than allowing them to spread unchallenged.

Questions

1. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are useful tools to quickly disseminate information. What might be some risks in using social media to communicate information quickly?

2. If you are acting on behalf of an employer in contract negotiations, what would be some policies in regard to the use of social media that you would develop during contract negotiations? What would the policies be if you are acting on behalf of the union in contract negotiations? Explain your responses.

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