New Rules of Engagement

Unions now seek decisive market shares in order to control the labor supply to major industry sectors. Union operatives and allies hold key leadership positions on various international organizations, shaping emerging policy in a way that favors their strategic campaigns. Unions spend hundreds of millions on international activities, leveraging the overseas campaigns to gain footholds domestically. Unions conduct years of intense research on target companies and industry sectors.

Unions then exploit weak points and other levers as themes in the campaign. Unions employ an array of tactics: shareholder initiatives; leveraging relationships with human rights organizations; political and regulatory action; control of EWCs; litigation; negative publicity that can intimidate the company as well as its customers, suppliers and other important stakeholders. Unions seek to impose enforceable global agreements that incorporate the pro-union tenets of international labor organizations, with core rights for workers and the right to bargain collectively for the employees.

One of the greatest challenges for target companies is recognizing the campaign in the first place. Unlike more traditional attacks, strategic campaigns are long term, sophisticated and very difficult to identify early on. What appears to be a series of random acts is, beneath the surface, really a strategic union campaign aimed at the company. By the time a company realizes that it’s a target, it is often too late to respond effectively.

As part of DLA Piper’s Employment group, the Global Strategic Union Campaign team combines the global resources of the world’s largest law firm with more than two decades of know-how and experience handling global strategic campaigns.  The team is able to identify and understand the pieces of a global campaign puzzle, helping targeted companies develop and execute multi-level, multi-jurisdictional strategies to manage the campaign.

  • We exhaustively track and monitor domestic and international resources to uncover what action the unions are taking, wherever it occurs.
  • We can evaluate events to determine when they are (and are not) part of an orchestrated campaign.
  • We coordinate the company’s response and communications within a consistent strategy.
  • We use local laws to combat disruptive union activity and are able to bring our own lawyers together to craft unique defense strategies.
  • We work laterally across DLA Piper’s global practice groups and develop comprehensive strategies to defend against a wide range of litigation.