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Over the past couple centuries, businesses have struggled with a common stubborn and recurring adversary – unions. These organizations dedicated to maintaining fair treatment of workers are ostensibly well-meaning, aiming to provide better conditions for employees, but in practice unions and corporations have often butted heads. Strikes, service reductions and lawsuits are just some of the obstacles companies have had to face at the hands of labor movements.

As with most everything else this day and age, labor advocacy has gone global. With the aid of Internet technology, and working with non-governmental organizations, the labor movement can now set its sights on companies across international borders. Known as "corporate campaigns," these movements can pose the same problems that unions always have. Here's how you can keep your business out of a very unwanted spotlight.

What do corporate campaigns want?
According to Corporate Campaign, Inc., the goal of it and other similar global corporate campaigns is to provide advocacy for laborers in an environment of increasing corporate activity. Topics that fall under the purview of such organizations include things like worker rights, salary and wage negotiations and legislation regulating working conditions. While their intentions are certainly admirable, the tactics that such entities can bring to bear – such as encouraging employees to strike – can create serious headaches for businesses.

How can you avoid becoming a target?
While every employer wants to treat its staff members fairly and with respect, executives also have to balance that with the need to maximize the bottom line. But the ever-looming threat of labor action in the form of a corporate campaign initiative may leave many business owners feeling wary of their actions.

The Society for Human Resource Management pointed out that organizations should conduct risk assessments to determine if there are any areas in which they operate that are likely to draw the attention of labor activists. The source suggested working closely with HR services to inspect essential company policies – things like whistleblower protections and hotlines, and the speed and efficacy with which the company responds to employee complaints. Safety is a huge area companies should focus on, as both labor movements and OSHA have turned a laser focus to corporate safety practices.

PEO companies can be valuable in this regard as they have their finger on the pulse of labor laws, including how they may be changing and what impact that can have on businesses. Be sure to do your research into corporate legislation when considering possible policy changes.