New Labor Union Data Show the System Works

By May 18, 2010Labor Unions

BNA PLUS, BNA’s research division has performed further research into the status of union representation elections performed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The new data (subscription needed) report that the percentage of elections that are won by labor unions continues to increase to 68.5 percent in 2009 which is up from 66.9 percent in 2008. This data also show that while the labor union “win rate” has increased, the overall amount of elections that have been won by labor unions has decreased by 17 percent.

So what does this mean?

It means that when labor union organizers engage in union elections they win more than two-thirds of the time. However, this information also shows that employees are finding it increasingly unnecessary to request that a third party, a labor union, represent them with their employers. The trends are clear; union membership in the private sector is dwindling, and the number of elections is decreasing, but when elections do take place the labor unions overwhelming win. So in essence, the representation process is clearly functioning in the way that our labor law system was designed to: Those who wish to be represented by a union are able to do so.

This news will irk labor leaders because it pokes holes in their argument for the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act. Under the EFCA, these National Labor Relations Board-supervised elections would be effectively eliminated as unions attempt to bring their current 68.5 percent win-rate number closer to 100 percent. Policy makers should pay close attention to these facts and figures before enacting major changes to both our labor laws and our labor system.

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