Your employees have the right to support or oppose joining a union. Generally, employees vote to unionize because they believe the union will make things better for them.

Here are 9 things you can do to ensure your staff are satisfied and engaged with their employment.

  1. Have a real open door policy. Encourage your staff to come to you if they have questions, concerns, or suggestions, and ensure all staff members know they will not be penalized for raising issues.
  2. Offer fair compensation and benefits. Don’t wait for a union to come and promise your staff more money and benefits. Pay your staff fairly for the work they do. The AHLA’s Annual Wage & Benefits Survey can help you find out where your wages fit in across Alberta and in your specific region. Find creative ways to reward your staff, such as bonuses, event tickets, or gift cards. You must do this before a union applies to become certified at your hotel. Once the unionization process begins, you may not change the terms and conditions of staff employment.
  3. Document your property’s policies and procedures. Ensure they are applied consistently with all staff. Do a periodic review to ensure staff members are aware of the policies and are following them.
  4. Have a progressive discipline policy that is consistently applied with all staff. Ensure supervisors and managers understand the policy. Orient all staff on the policy when they begin with you, and review it regularly. Document policy breaches, and ensure consequences are consistent with all staff.
  5. Hold regular meetings. Ensure staff understand service and operating standards and are following them. Allow staff to raise ideas, concerns or questions, and ensure follow-up.
  6. Assess your HR practices. The AHLA’s Employer of Choice program helps hotels measure their HR practices and hear what their employees really think about working for them. Every property that completes an application receives a report that recognizes what they are doing well and areas for improvement.
  7. Don’t tolerate problem employees. Problem employees may include those who are  not doing their work, missing shifts, bullying or harassing coworkers, spreading negativity and dissatisfaction, or creating a ‘following’. To address these employees, we encourage employers to listen to employee concerns, follow a performance management system, follow up with any concern regarding an employee, and document all performance management meetings, conversations, and verbal warnings.
  8. Invite employees to provide input on how to improve policies and procedures. You may have a suggestion box, or conduct annual surveys.
  9. Watch for signs of union activity at your property, such as flyers, unusual social activities, and solicitations by union organizers. Make sure your managers know what they can and can’t do.
    • Can:
      • Report signs of union activity to management
      • Monitor guest rooms as well as common and staff areas for union propaganda. Pay particular attention to coffee rooms and housekeeping carts.
      • Prohibit unions from organizing on your property and solicitation during work time
      • Require that all guests be pre-approved in employee accommodations.
      • Review reservations and guest lists for unions and union representatives
    • Can’t:
      • Promise wage raises, benefits or promotions if staff oppose unionizing
      • Threaten hotel closure or dismissal if staff unionize
      • Participate in open observation of your employees

Read More About Unions & You

The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association disclaims any liability with respect to the use of the information or reliance thereon contained in this publication. Nothing in this publication should be construed as legal opinion or advice.