September 12th, 2012

For Bullied Targets, Unions Necessary or Not?

According to 223 visitors to the Workplace Bullying Institute site over the 2012 Labor Day holiday period, 76% of respondents to our Instant Poll question considered unions necessary. In nearly equal numbers, 72% believed that unions need to change, to adapt to either do a better job stopping bullying or to reinvent themselves to better unify workers.

During the late August-early September period, we posted the following question:

Unions on 2012 Labor Day: Are unions necessary to address workplace bullying? Choose the one best response.

The proportions of respondents who chose each response alternative were:

Necessary. But unions must do more to stop bullying. .493

Necessary. To balance power with employers that foster bullying. .261

Unnecessary. We need to speak as unified employees, but current unions are not the answer.

Unnecessary. Employees by themselves can make employers stop bullying. .021

WBI Instant Poll single-question surveys give results that can be extrapolated only to bullied targets (known to be 98% of site visitors who complete surveys). Results are not representative of a larger population like our national scientific studies.

Gary Namie, PhD, WBI Research Director

© 2012 Workplace Bullying Institute, All Rights Reserved


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 5:03 pm and is filed under Unions, WBI Surveys & Studies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. kachina2 says:

    Part of the reason I feel that unions are necessary is that bullying at work cannot continue without the involvement (implicit or explicit) of multiple representatives of the company. It is NOT an interpersonal problem. Especially when there are multiple targets (simultaneous or sequential) and multiple avenues (HR, OSH, management, executive) approached or involved it becomes apparent that the entire organization is the culprit and must be held accountable.  

    One person/target cannot possibly take on institutional/organizational/cultural problems alone and emerge intact. And where employees as a group are put at risk, they need to have strong representation and advocacy even when there is only one individual willing to give voice to the concerns that probably have negative effects on every member of a workplace community…whether they realize it or not. There are ripple effects that affect the broader communities that overlap. 

    Corporate responsibility is a concept we must embrace and hold accountable. An injury to one is an injury to all. 

  2. kachina2 says:

    All the more reason to enact and enforce legislation. We all have a role to play and need to pay attention to how those roles are organized to interact.

  3. kachina2 says:

    I had a similar experience with my union, but don’t believe that experience should be over-generalized. The unions must re-evaluate their effectiveness at accomplishing their purpose, and update practices accordingly. The world has changed and all of our organizations need to find ways to be relevant and valuable to emerging new understandings and realities. Unions are workplaces too! All organizations are collectives of human beings who are trying to accomplish something they can agree on. One voice in the wilderness is just one voice…and we need a chorus on the streets. Unions could be the vehicle and amplification system to have those voices heard…if they choose to do so and dedicate themselves to the task.

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