Future Workplace Policy Council Hosts Candid Discussion of Issues and Potential Responses to Worker Unrest

July 31, 2020

With tensions running high amid the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and a contentious election season, the Association’s Future Workplace Policy Council discussed how companies are approaching issues surrounding worker unrest such as social media posts, protests, and walkouts. 

“We must understand the reality of the legal infrastructure, but also ask ourselves how do we lead in times like these,” said Johnna Torsone, FWPC Chair and Pitney Bowes CHRO.  “This is a different social infrastructure that we are operating in, and it moves quickly and often in a volatile manner.” 

"It's not hard for most companies to acknowledge the realities of the social environment," said Jennifer Jones, Managing Counsel at Toyota North America.  "The real work, however, is in determining how to promote and foster productive discussions around these sensitive, yet critical, issues among a workforce with varying views, and then turning those discussions into authentic and sustainable actions to address the issues." 

HR Policy Director of Global Affairs Alan Wild said, “This big change is that employee relations today is about how we listen to our employees—whether they have complaints or ideas—and how we respond to them.”  

The call was moderated by our Senior Labor and Employment Counsel Roger King, who was joined by former NLRB Member Harry Johnson III of Morgan Lewis, in providing an analysis of the current state of the labor law.  Mr. Johnson said, "For applying your anti-harassment and civility standards during these challenging times, General Motors is the most important Board case of the year."

HR Policy Members can find the presentation here.