The Law @ Work

What Do BNA’s Recently Released Union Statistics Mean for Employers?

Bloomberg BNA recently released its NLRB Election Results for 2012.  According to BNA, unions won 63% of representation elections in 2012, down from a win rate of 66% in 2011.  The number of representation elections increased from 1,313 in 2011 to 1,380 in 2012.  Of the 228 decertification elections, unions won in 38.2%.  The Teamsters Union was the most active in 2012 with 312 representation elections (59% win rate) followed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with 147 elections (70.1% win rate).  One lesson presented to employers by these statistics is that if you are targeted by a union for an organizing drive, you will find remaining union-free to be a greater challenge than 20 or even 10 years ago.

As is the norm, Unions had the highest winning percentage in smaller bargaining units.  Unions won 67.1% of elections involving bargaining units of 50-99 workers and 64.9% in units involving fewer than 49 voters.  In units with 100-499 workers, the Union win rate was 50.2%.  By size of the company, the number of union elections in 2012 were:

Number of Employees                                  Union Elections

1-49                                                                       954

50-99                                                                     207

100-499                                                                203

500 or more                                                        16

Many small employers think that their size makes them less appealing to unions than large employers with many more potential union dues payers.  The reality is that the smaller you are the more likely you will be targeted for organizing by a union.  It is far easier for a union to organize several smaller employers than to take on a large company.

Particularly with the present administration in Washington that is trying to help unions every way it can with their organizing efforts, employers need to reexamine their commitment to remaining union-free and review their policies and procedures from a union avoidance perspective.  Now is also a good time to engage in management training geared to remaining union-free.

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