Practice Areas

Union Organizing Still Alive and Well

December 2012

By: Richard H. Wessels, Esq.

As many of our clients know, we at Wessels Sherman monitor union organizing petitions across the USA. We need to keep an eye on our opponent! Actually, it has only been in the last few years that access to this information has been possible. The NLRB changed their procedures. Now, the NLRB has all union organizing petitions filed at each Regional Office on a computer database. Previously, this information could only be obtained by looking at hard copies at the various NLRB offices.

There is a clear trend developing. Unions are still weak in the private sector, but they are out there trying to organize. However, there is a shift away from the traditional base of unions in manufacturing, trucking, and certain types of retailing. Voting units are clearly smaller these days - lots of 10 and 20 person units or less. In this shift away from the traditional base, we have seen far more petitions in such organizations as nursing homes, not-for-profits, and service industries. A major focus for union organizing seems to be areas that are very close to the public sector - school bus drivers, janitorial services, security, food service, etc.

My view is that it is going to be very difficult for organized labor to regain the ground that they have lost by organizing in these areas. But, this is definitely what we are seeing in the union election petitions being filed in the past several months.