The National Labor Relations Board has issued its report on election outcomes April 2010 to September 2010. During that period, there were 308 elections involving AFL-CIO affiliated unions. The unions won 69.2% or 213 of those elections. Unions unaffiliated with the AFL-CIO (Teamsters, UFCW, SEIU, etc.) were involved in 475 elections and won 304 or 64%. It is notable that the percentage of elections won by the unions is markedly higher than in previous years.
Certainly, organized labor has “felt the love” emanating from the Obama Administration. In addition, the President’s nomination of the five-member NLRB have moved that governmental agency to the pro-union side of the ledger.
The mid-term elections dealt a serious blow to Union hopes for passage of the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” we wrote about in prior additions of the Newsletter. Nevertheless, the challenging economy and risk of job loss are likely important factors in unions’ higher election success rate. In a down economy, Union organizers try to convince employees that a union is their only key to job security even though that is not the case.
Just about the worst thing an employer can do when business conditions sour is to not communicate with employees about the state of the business. Employees want their employers to succeed and have a vested interest in that success. Employers who talk openly and honestly about business conditions and their plans have a much better chance of avoiding a union organizing drive, or defeating one should it occur.