Our business was originally set up in 1964 as a not for profit organization that was established to help employers deal with labor problems. Those problems in 1964 were unions. The business was nearly 100 percent dealing with unions; negotiations, elections, strikes, picketing and unfair labor practices. We spent most of our time negotiating to arrive at employer friendly agreements.
Several things happened in the 1980's -'90's that changed our business. Wrongful discharge lawsuits, the air traffic controllers strike, when President Regan made good on a threat to fire all who struck, the I-9 forms, the SB198 - IIPP's, and than finally the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings.
The air traffic controllers firing had the effect of telling the unions that their dominance was over, and the I-9 Forms made it clear how invasive "Big Mother" government had gotten. Wrongful discharge lawsuits, the safety programs needed for every employer and the Sex Harassment witch hunt that followed Anita Hill's testimony made it clear that no employer should try to run a business without a support staff.
We recognized as we moved away from engaging unions to representing employers in front of the government's administrative agencies that we would have to change our structure. We became a profit corporation and began providing many services consulting services for free. The idea was to make our membership such a good deal that no one who joined would ever quit. Just the opposite of what had happened befor. In most instances when we were successful in ridding the company of the union, they chose to quit, inasmuch as they no longer had a problem for us to help solve.
So by 1991 we had made a full transition from 90% union related activity to 90% handbooks, SB-198's and answering labor law questions over the phone. Advertising and sales campaigns have not been terribly successful. We have grown by word of mouth over the years. We have one commission only sales person who makes a poor living of it with less than half our growth from her efforts.
The majority of our members are local, but part of that comes from the only promotional program we have; dinner for two at the Vintage Press when a member referres a member. In 1991 we had about 175 members and recently we surpassed dues paying 532 members.
We feel we are unique as a labor consulting firm. While we derive a great deal of revenue from handbooks and SB-198's, the major income thrust continues to be dues paying, long term members.