Business owners and corporate boards across the country do not like unions because unions equalize the power between workers and management. Management will take any opportunity available to undermine a union, including pouncing on any appearance of impropriety.
What kinds of “impropriety” are we talking about here?
People who aren’t in a union, and many union members, tend to complain about union corruption. However, “corruption” as a concept is hard to correct because it’s not all that specific and often a matter of opinion. Actions one person may view as corrupt nepotism might result from a long, arduous decision process.
However, there are some signs and symptoms of truly corrupt practices:
- Dishonesty from union leadership
- Lack of transparency
And if a union is to survive to protect its workers, it cannot get bogged down by in-fighting.
Comprehensive internal investigations
It is in the best interests of every union to have a vigorous, thorough investigation process for any complaint. A successful internal investigation is:
- Complete: The investigation must leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the truth. It may lead to a complaint’s dismissal or lead to uncomfortable truths about members of the union. The investigation must go the distance, no matter what.
- Transparent: If an investigation finds no wrongdoing, then the steps taken during the investigation must be clear to the interested parties.
- Unbiased: The investigators are not influenced by union politics, relationships or any other concern but the truth. They do not make judgments on the merits of a claim until they have researched it thoroughly.
We live in a time of declining trust. Retaining the trust of not only the public but union members is essential to continued existence.
Independence may require outside counsel
The most effective option to address all three parts of a successful investigation may be to use outside, independent investigators. As genuinely independent investigators, they are much more likely to provide all the necessary elements to guide your union’s disciplinary actions.