Report | Unions and Labor Standards

The Trump administration’s attacks on workplace union voting rights forewarned of the broader threats to voting rights in the upcoming election

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Press release

What this report finds: Workers are not experiencing democracy in the workplace, and this disenfranchisement is abetting the Trump administration’s broader attack on democratic processes in the United States. While nearly half of nonunionized workers say they would like a union in their workplace, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) packed with Trump appointees has made it more difficult for workers to exercise their right to elect union representation—a right guaranteed to private-sector workers by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Here are just some of the actions taken by the Trump NLRB that have or seek to reverse reforms made under the Obama administration:

  • Suspended union elections for a period early in the coronavirus pandemic, affecting 195 elections petitions with nearly 17,000 workers seeking to unionize.
  • Implemented provisions in a “representation case procedures rule” that will make union elections take longer and be more likely to involve unnecessary litigation.
  • Issued a decision making it easier for employers to manipulate and change the bargaining unit sought by employees, and by this gerrymandering, create a unit of eligible voters less likely to vote for a union.
  • Issued a rule requiring employers who voluntarily recognize a union selected by a majority of their employees to post a notice that the union has been recognized but that employees have a 45-day period to ask for an election.

Why it matters: The decline in workplace democracy has ramifications for our overall political system. As union membership has declined, policies that serve working people have lost out to policies supporting corporate interests.

What we can do about it: Policymakers must enact reforms to safeguard workers’ right to a union and protect our overall democracy. Congress must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would streamline the process of forming a union, bolstering unionized workers’ chances of success at negotiating a first agreement, and hold employers accountable when they violate workers’ rights. And the Senate must pass two bills that have passed the House of Representatives: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore protections against discriminatory voting policies that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, and the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which includes election provisions that would provide no-excuse absentee ballot voting, at least 15 days of in-person early voting, accessible online and same-day voter registration, and equal voting access for voters with disabilities.

Introduction

As we enter the final weeks of the presidential election, much attention will be focused on our nation’s electoral system and democracy. The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused disruptions in primary elections and the looming crisis with funding of the United States Postal Service (USPS) poses an additional threat to our election system as more voters are forced to/wish to vote by mail (Corasaniti and Saul 2020). While some of these issues are linked to the pandemic, the Trump administration and Republican leaders have sought to erode our democratic processes by attempting to restrict voting and delegitimize elections. For example, this year, the Republican leadership invested $20 million to fight lawsuits aimed at reforming state restrictions on voting (Millhiser 2020). President Trump appointed a Postmaster General who has actively worked against a fair election, instituting policies that have led to a slowdown in mail service and jeopardized the ability of the USPS to move mail ballots at a time when more Americans are relying on mail ballots (Nichols 2020). And, while voter fraud is exceedingly rare (Feldman 2020), President Trump and the Republican leadership routinely reference widespread voter fraud to promote further restrictions on voting and undermine trust in the election process (Rizzo 2020).

The canary in the coal mine foretelling the threats to the democracy of our general elections has been the Trump administration’s consistent attack on workplace democracy—the ability of working people to elect representation in the workplace. It is true that the process by which workers vote for a union to represent them is badly broken and has been for some time, and has long been a source of political debate (see for example, McNicholas et al. 2019; Lafer and Loustanau 2020). However, rather than working to restore workers’ collective bargaining rights, the Trump administration has significantly further eroded them. Some of the most prominent examples are the actions that the Trump administration has taken to weaken reforms ushered in by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Obama. In 2017, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce listed 10 actions that it wanted the Trump NLRB to take to restrict the rights extended under the Obama NLRB. The Trump NLRB has delivered on all 10 items on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s wish list (McNicholas, Rhinehart, and Poydock 2020). In this report, we examine a few of the key ways the Trump administration has undermined workers’ right to a union—largely by further rigging the union election system against working people—and consider the larger implications for our democracy.

Background on union elections

When it was passed in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) held out the promise that workers would have democratic rights in the workplace similar to the rights held by “a citizen in the field of government.”1 However, in the 85 years since the law was enacted, union elections have never resembled the general election process. Today, workers face an election process that is skewed in the employer’s favor and is riddled with bureaucracy and delay.

The formal union election process commences when workers or their union representative file a representation petition with the NLRB that describes the “bargaining unit”—the group of workers that would be covered by the organizing and collective bargaining. The petition must be supported by signatures from at least 30% of workers in the bargaining unit. However, employers are legally allowed to try to gerrymander the bargaining unit to make it more difficult for workers to organize and show support.2 Once a representation petition is filed, the NLRB investigates the petition and eventually schedules an election in which workers vote on whether they want union representation. However, during this period, employers often exploit the law to drag out the scheduling of an election and use the time between the petition and the election to campaign against the union.

During the election campaign, employers use their access to workers and control of the workplace to make sure workers are repeatedly exposed to the employer’s views about unionization. Employers hold captive audience meetings (mandatory meetings where workers hear the employer’s anti-union message) and use company email to broadcast anti-union messages. Meanwhile, employers legally can keep union organizers out of the workplace so that organizers are unable to talk directly with employees on the job.3 As a result, workers are bombarded by the employer’s message and deprived of the ability to hear from their union at the workplace.

In addition to subjecting workers to lopsided communications, employers often diminish union support by firing workers who are in favor of the union. Though it is illegal to fire workers for exercising their right to collective bargaining, employers are charged with firing workers in nearly 20% of all union elections (McNicholas et al. 2019). Under current labor law, employers face no real consequences for illegally firing workers—just an order that they rehire the worker and pay the back wages the worker would have earned minus the wages the worker did receive, or could have earned, in the interim. In other words, firing union supporters is just treated as a cost of doing business. The law does not provide for monetary penalties against employers for illegally firing pro-union workers, or for damages to employees for the hardships they face when they are fired illegally.

Once the election is conducted and workers vote to form a union, management is theoretically required to honor the vote and sit down to begin good-faith negotiations toward a contract. However, employers often drag their feet in bargaining over a collective agreement. In some cases, employers slow-walk the bargaining process and fail to bargain in good faith. In other cases, employers take advantage of current labor law, which allows them to refuse to bargain if they are challenging an issue related to or arising out of the original election, like the composition of the bargaining unit. This process can take years, and in the meantime, the workers’ decision to form a union and negotiate a fair contract is thwarted.4

How the Trump administration has further undermined the process of union elections

During the Obama administration, the NLRB issued rulings to modernize the election process and make it more efficient (as noted above and explained in detail below). However, rather than upholding these common-sense rule changes, the Trump administration has systematically worked to make the flawed union election process even more difficult for workers who want a union. Specifically, through rulemakings and decisions, the Trump NLRB has further rigged the system against working people, limiting unions’ access to workers and making it harder for workers who have won union representation to keep that representation.

Further rigging the union election process

Within weeks of the swearing in of its new Trump-appointed members, the Trump NLRB began a rulemaking process to weaken rules that modernized the union election process and made it more efficient.5 Initially, it drafted a representation case procedures rule that weakened an Obama NLRB rulemaking that streamlined the election process to allow employees to vote on union representation in a timely manner. But in its rush to further rig the union election system against workers, the Trump board adopted this representation case procedures rule without providing the public with an opportunity for “notice-and-comment” as is required for substantive rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). As a result, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that many elements of the rule were largely invalid.6 While some minor elements of the rule were not overturned by the court, the entire representation case procedures rule was remanded to the NLRB for reconsideration. Unsurprisingly, the Trump NLRB announced on June 1, 2020, that all elements of the rule not expressly invalidated by the court would be immediately implemented (NLRB 2020). So, union elections will take longer and be more likely to involve unnecessary litigation.

Further limiting access to union election voters

Under current labor law, workers do not have equal access to information from employers and union representatives during a union election campaign. As noted earlier, employers can inundate workers with anti-union messages through captive audience meetings, one-on-one meetings with supervisors, and workplace emails or bulletins. Meanwhile, employers can keep union organizers out of the workplace so that organizers are unable to talk directly with employees on the job.

The Trump NLRB proposed a rule that would make it even harder for union organizers to communicate with workers. For over 50 years, the NLRB has required that an employer must provide a list of all employees eligible to vote in a union election. This list must include employee contact information. Originally, the NLRB required employers to provide the names and home addresses of all eligible voters.7 In 2014, the Obama NLRB amended this requirement to include available personal email addresses and available personal cell phone numbers. The Obama board concluded that access to employees’ more modern contact information simply modernized the long-standing requirement established in Excelsior Underwear, Inc, the 1966 NLRB case that affirmed the contact information requirement.

In July of this year, the Trump NLRB issued a proposed rule that would eliminate the mandatory disclosure of employees’ personal telephone numbers and email addresses during a union organizing campaign.8 The proposal ignores the reality of the dominant role electronic communication now plays and returns the voter list requirement to outdated means of communication, effectively depriving workers of information on workplace representation.

In addition, the Trump board issued a decision that deprived workers of the right to use their employer’s email system to communicate—on nonwork time—for NLRA-protected purposes. In Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the Trump board overturned the Obama board’s 2014 ruling in Purple Communications, which held that if an employer gives employees access to an email system, then it must allow them to use it to communicate with each other for statutorily protected purposes, unless it can demonstrate a justification for limiting use of the email system.9 In reaching its decision in the 2019 Caesars case, the Trump board ignored Supreme Court precedent and its statutory obligation to adapt the NLRA to changes in the workplace. The decision will make it more difficult for workers to communicate with each other about workplace issues.

Delegitimizing the results of union elections

When workers form a union, the union remains the bargaining representative unless and until it is voted out by employees. The union negotiates a collective bargaining agreement with the employer, and its status as the employees’ representative continues from contract to contract unless a valid and timely petition is filed challenging the union’s continued status as the choice of a majority of employees. There has long been a narrow exception in the law allowing employers claiming to have evidence that the union no longer has the support of a majority of employees to notify an incumbent union that the employer will be withdrawing recognition of the union at the end of the current collective bargaining agreement. However, if the union does in fact have the support of a majority of employees at the expiration of the contract and can prove it, it is against the law for the employer to withdraw recognition from the union. This long-standing rule makes sense: Employers should not be allowed to unilaterally withdraw recognition from a union that in fact has the support of a majority of employees at the time of withdrawal.

However, in Johnson Controls, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 20, the Trump board established a new rule—that employers are legally permitted to withdraw recognition at the conclusion of the collective bargaining agreement if they claim to have evidence that the union does not have majority support. If the union wants to get its status back, it must file a petition for a new election and prevail in that election. There is no reason to require a union and employees to go through the NLRB election process when the union still has majority support. Moreover, the rule sets up an imbalance in the law—the rule allows employers to withdraw recognition without an election, but employers can still, at the beginning of a bargaining relationship, insist on an election and refuse to recognize a union that has demonstrated it has majority support. This imbalanced, unjustified undermining of union status shows the anti-union, pro-employer bias of the Trump board. This decision merely serves to undermine the results of a union election.

Gerrymandering bargaining units to make them employer-friendly

One of the first decisions the Trump NLRB issued allowed employers to, again, essentially gerrymander the bargaining unit, making it easier for them to force workers into or out of the unit of eligible voters. The NLRA gives workers the right to organize in “a unit appropriate” for collective bargaining with the employer. When workers want to form a union, they file a petition with the NLRB seeking an election and they specify the group—the bargaining unit—that is organizing. The Obama NLRB ruled in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011), that the bargaining unit sought by employees when petitioning to form a union at their workplace was presumptively appropriate if the employees shared a “community of interest,” and that the NLRB would respect workers’ choice unless the employer made a compelling case as to why the bargaining unit was not appropriate.

In PCC Structurals, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 160 (2017), which overturned Specialty Healthcare, the Trump board made it easier for employers to manipulate and change the bargaining unit sought by employees. The board now requires that the differences between employees in the requested unit and employees outside the unit outweigh the similarities, even though the NLRA requires “an” appropriate unit, not the “most” appropriate unit or a “more” appropriate unit (McNicholas, Poydock, and Rhinehart 2019).

Making it harder to get a union outside of the flawed union election process

Under the NLRA, employers presented with evidence that a majority of employees support forming a union can voluntarily recognize the union, which eliminates the need for a union election. The Trump board finalized a rule that undermines this long-standing practice of employers voluntarily recognizing unions upon evidence that the union enjoys the support of a majority of employees.10 Under the Trump board’s rule, employers who voluntarily recognize a union selected by a majority of their employees must post a notice that the union has been recognized, but that employees have a 45-day period to ask for an election—even though a majority of employees will have just indicated their support for the union. Requiring the 45-day notice is a waste of time and resources because workers decertify their new union so rarely—in only 1.2% of cases.11

This rule simply makes it more difficult for workers to establish union representation through voluntary recognition, instead forcing workers and employers to participate in an NLRB-administered election process that involves delays and arcane processes.

Suspending all union elections during the pandemic

On March 19, the Trump NLRB ordered a suspension of all union elections—including mail ballots—through April 1. In the midst of the pandemic, when many workers were navigating issues of health and safety, and looking for ways to have their voices heard, the agency responsible for ensuring workers have the right to a voice in the workplace denied them the ability to exercise these rights. By suspending all union elections, the Trump board essentially cut off workers’ ability to win union representation. The board undertook this action while simultaneously finalizing the rule discussed in the previous section that makes it more difficult for employers to voluntarily recognize a union.12

During the suspension, 21 election petitions were filed, representing more than 1,700 workers seeking to unionize. By the Trump board’s own estimate, the median time between petition and election is 23 days.13 Therefore, it is important to consider the petitions filed from one to 23 days prior to the NLRB’s suspension of petitions, as these elections were also likely impacted by the decision. Counting all petitions filed in this roughly six-week period means that 195 elections petitions with nearly 17,000 workers seeking to unionize were impacted by the NLRB’s suspension of union elections during the pandemic. The affected workers include many who were deemed “essential” during the pandemic. One in six affected workers (16.4%) was in health or emergency services (such as police officers, firefighters, and EMTs).

Conclusion

As the examples in this report demonstrate, the Trump administration has systematically attacked workplace democracy and made it more difficult for workers to exercise their right to elect union representation. The data bear this out: While nearly half (48%) of all nonunion workers say they would vote for a union if given the opportunity (Kochan et al. 2018), only 11.6% of workers are represented by a union (Shierholz 2020). Clearly, workers are not experiencing democracy in the workplace.

The decline in workplace democracy has ramifications for our overall political system. As union membership has declined, political representation has shifted to the right (Feigenbaum, Hertel-Fernandez, and Williamson 2018) and policies that serve working people have lost out to policies supporting corporate interests (McNicholas, Rhinehart, and Poydock 2020). For example, consider that Congress has not approved a raise in the minimum wage in 13 years—the longest Congress has ever gone between increases since establishing a minimum wage in 1938. Any attempt at passing legislation to restore workers’ right to a union has failed as well. In contrast, corporate interests have advanced. For example, 10 out of 10 policies in an anti-worker agenda from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have been implemented by the Trump administration. This is not a functioning democracy (McNicholas, Rhinehart, and Poydock 2020).

Policymakers must enact reforms to safeguard workers’ right to a union and protect our overall democracy. A new administration must prioritize policies that serve working people and restore their right to workplace democracy. Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is a critical first step. The PRO Act would help ensure that workers have a meaningful right to organize and bargain collectively by streamlining the process of forming a union, bolstering unionized workers’ chances of success at negotiating a first agreement, and holding employers accountable when they violate workers’ rights (McNicholas, Poydock, and Rhinehart 2019). In February the PRO Act passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 224–194. However, days before the passage of the PRO Act, a Statement of Administration Policy issued by the White House stated that President Trump would be advised to veto the bill if it were to reach his desk (OMB 2020).

Further, policymakers must enact legislation that protects our democracy, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, both of which have passed the House of Representatives. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (formerly known as the Voting Rights Advancement Act) would restore protections against discriminatory voting policies that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a decision that has led to state and local actions that disenfranchise communities of color (Levine and Rao 2020). The HEROES Act includes election provisions that would provide no-excuse absentee ballot voting, at least 15 days of in-person early voting, accessible online and same-day voter registration, and equal voting access for voters with disabilities—all of which “are essential to help this nation safeguard the November 2020 election” (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. 2020). The Senate must pass both pieces of legislation in order to safeguard our fundamental right to vote.

Appendix Table 1

NLRB election petitions filed from February 25 to March 31, 2020

Case number Case name Filed date Number of employees on petition
02-RC-256886 Northwell Health Physicians Partners Opthalmology 2/25/2020 53
02-RC-256916 Breaking Ground, Inc. 2/25/2020 30
05-RD-256888 Mountaire Farms Inc. 2/25/2020 800
07-RC-257046 PACE Southeast Michigan 2/25/2020 115
07-RC-257047 PACE Southeast Michigan 2/25/2020 65
07-RD-256867 Alpha Baking Company, Inc. 2/25/2020 9
09-RC-256883 Appalachian Power Company 2/25/2020 7
10-RC-256885 Appalachian Power Company 2/25/2020 13
12-RC-256905 Orlando Sentinel Communications Company, LLC d/b/a Orlando Sentinel 2/25/2020 50
16-RC-256920 The Atlantic Group, INC. 2/25/2020 63
18-RC-256880 Aspirus Ironwood Hospital – Clinics, Inc. 2/25/2020 15
21-RC-256928 Southern California Edison 2/25/2020 850
28-RC-256955 Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC 2/25/2020 36
01-RC-256940 Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Plymouth, Inc. 2/26/2020 25
03-RD-256936 Ardent Mills, LLC 2/26/2020 46
05-RC-256975 Indivisible Project 2/26/2020 58
08-RC-257004 Morrow County Firefighter’s & Squadmen’s Association (MCFSA) d/b/a Morrow County Emergency Medical S 2/26/2020 9
13-RC-256995 Roseland Community Hospital 2/26/2020 100
16-RC-256972 Johnson Controls, Inc. 2/26/2020 118
18-RC-256986 River Market Community Co-op 2/26/2020 39
25-RC-256973 FCA US LLC 2/26/2020 6
29-RC-256934 Allied Transit Corp/ Empire State Corp/ Empire Charter Service Inc 2/26/2020 250
02-RC-257151 XPO Logistics Freight, Inc. 2/27/2020 50
02-RC-257165 Breaking Ground, Inc. 2/27/2020 6
02-RC-257166 Breaking Ground Housing Development Fund Corporation 2/27/2020 8
02-RC-257167 Breaking Ground Housing Development Fund Corporation 2/27/2020 6
03-RC-257044 First Student, Inc. 2/27/2020 38
07-RC-257057 Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel, LLC 2/27/2020 11
07-RC-257074 Faurecia 2/27/2020 16
09-RC-257061 Seemless Design & Printing LLC d/b/a Seemless Printing 2/27/2020 4
10-RD-257071 Altec Industries, Inc. 2/27/2020 300
13-RC-257111 Performing Arts at Metropolis d/b/a Metropolis Performing Arts Centre 2/27/2020 2
15-RC-257053 Oswalt’s Sewer Rooter & Plumbing Repair, LLC 2/27/2020 4
15-RC-257099 Dyncorp International, LLC 2/27/2020 34
18-RC-256993 Go Riteway Transportation Group 2/27/2020 5
18-RC-257016 Imperial Bag & Paper Co., LLC d/b/a Imperial Dade 2/27/2020 2
28-RC-257076 CoffeeMongers, Inc. d/b/a Humble Coffee 2/27/2020 12
29-RC-257035 Xtell Parking, LLC 2/27/2020 8
31-RC-257073 Dignity Health d/b/a Mercy Southwest Hospital/Mercy Hospital Downtown 2/27/2020 10
03-RC-257153 Vassar Brothers Medical Center 2/28/2020 16
04-RC-257107 Crozer-Chester Medical Center 2/28/2020 82
07-RC-257156 Indiana Michigan Power Company 2/28/2020 37
12-RC-257137 Moran Environmental Recovery, LLC 2/28/2020 28
13-RC-257168 NorthShore University HealthSystem d/b/a NorthShore Home and Hospice Services 2/28/2020 75
13-RC-257174 VH-M Rosemont, LLC d/b/a Marriott Suites O’Hare 2/28/2020 30
16-RC-257188 Don Miguel Mexican Food, Megamex–Hormel 2/28/2020 500
18-RC-257127 Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Inc. 2/28/2020 6
19-RC-257179 Fresenius Medical Care Montana, LLC 2/28/2020 3
20-RC-257148 California Forensic Medical Group 2/28/2020 66
25-RC-257155 Nestle USA, Inc. 2/28/2020 106
27-RC-257173 The Yerba Mate Co., LLC 2/28/2020 12
28-RC-257243 Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits 2/28/2020 125
29-RC-257095 Breaking Ground Housing Development Fund Corporation 2/28/2020 10
31-RC-257230 Sierra Transport, LLC 2/28/2020 23
32-RC-257141 Telecare Corporation d/b/a Willow Rock Center 2/28/2020 9
01-RC-257215 Kent County Visiting Nurse Association d/b/a VNA of Care New England 3/2/2020 16
01-RC-257259 VNA of Care New England 3/2/2020 16
04-RC-257224 The News Journal (Wilmington), a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC, a subsidiar 3/2/2020 29
04-RC-257297 Bynum Hospitality, Inc. 3/2/2020 4
06-RC-257293 Latrobe Specialty Metals Company, LLC 3/2/2020 85
08-RC-257236 Skylift, Inc. 3/2/2020 50
12-RC-257326 Host International, Inc. (HMS Host) 3/2/2020 750
14-RC-257212 Autohaus West, Inc. 3/2/2020 13
15-RD-257239 American Fuel Cell and Coated Fabrics Company d/b/a Amfuel 3/2/2020 273
19-RC-257250 Lourdes Hospital LLC d/b/a Lourdes Medical Center 3/2/2020 100
20-RD-257265 Wilcor Auto’s, Inc. dba Toyota of Vallejo 3/2/2020 30
27-RC-257267 Host International, Inc. d/b/a HMSHost, Inc. 3/2/2020 245
01-RC-257349 Element Materials Technologies Hartford, Inc. 3/3/2020 74
01-RC-257363 First Transit, Inc. 3/3/2020 14
04-RD-257379 West End Fire Company #3 3/3/2020 24
05-RC-257366 Signature Theatre, Inc. 3/3/2020 50
06-RC-257382 Twinbrook Health & Rehabilitation Center 3/3/2020 18
06-RC-257392 Twinbrook Health & Rehabilitation Center 3/3/2020 70
10-RD-257331 Rainelle Center, LLC d/b/a Meadow Garden 3/3/2020 54
21-RC-257335 Audio Visual Services Group, LLC 3/3/2020 20
28-RC-257369 MV Transportation, Inc. 3/3/2020 7
04-RM-257405 Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company d/b/a West End Fire Company No. 3 3/4/2020 24
06-RC-257435 NAES Corporation 3/4/2020 17
15-RC-257449 PotlatchDeltic 3/4/2020 154
21-RC-257498 Spectrum Security Services, Inc. 3/4/2020 93
25-RC-257451 Irving Materials, Inc. 3/4/2020 4
27-RC-257404 Idaho Statesman Publishing, LLC d/b/a Idaho Statesman 3/4/2020 16
27-RC-257463 Triple Canopy, Inc. 3/4/2020 212
29-RC-257409 J. Pizzirusso Landscaping Corporation 3/4/2020 14
01-RC-257458 New England Treatment Access, LLC 3/5/2020 146
01-RC-257461  F & M Equipment, Ltd. 3/5/2020 50
01-RD-257448 Compass Group 3/5/2020 49
08-RD-257467 The Dover Tank and Plate Company 3/5/2020 16
09-RC-257491 Quickway Transportation, Inc. 3/5/2020 77
19-RC-257499 Kay & Associates, Inc. 3/5/2020 30
19-RC-257543 Metalfab Inc. 3/5/2020 7
20-RM-257482 Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC 3/5/2020 17
22-RC-257460 Planned Building Services, a part of and related to Planned Companies 3/5/2020 6
01-RC-257565 Bob’s Discount Furniture 3/6/2020 13
02-RC-257605 City Bar Justice Center 3/6/2020 8
03-RC-257541 Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York 3/6/2020 4
03-RC-257555 Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York 3/6/2020 12
04-RC-257607 Broad 600 LLC 3/6/2020 3
10-RC-257531 Appalachian Power Company 3/6/2020 7
10-RC-257615 MH Hospital Manager, LLC 3/6/2020 1600
10-RD-257514 Pepsi Beverages Company 3/6/2020 47
12-RC-257536 Range Generation Next, LLC 3/6/2020 7
13-RC-257550 Volvo PDC Joliet 3/6/2020 51
14-RC-257594 Johns Manville 3/6/2020 178
19-RC-257661 Sound 3/6/2020 570
21-RC-257595 Epsilon System Solutions, Inc. 3/6/2020 4
32-RC-257578 Audio Visual Services Group, LLC 3/6/2020 11
01-RC-257633 SDH Services East, LLC, also known as SODEXO 3/9/2020 100
02-RC-257691 Citizen 360 Condominium 3/9/2020 8
02-RC-257861 Greyhound 3/9/2020 60
04-RC-257634 Delaware Valley Residential Care, LLC 3/9/2020 94
07-RC-257637 Douglas Mechanical, LLC 3/9/2020 7
07-RC-257674 Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. 3/9/2020 40
13-RC-257636 Fontanini Foods, LLC 3/9/2020 347
18-RC-257613 Precision Land & Tree Clearing, LLC 3/9/2020 4
22-RC-257627 565 Ridge Road, LLC d/b/a Waterview Center Services & Maintenance 3/9/2020 4
28-RC-257762 Taylor Farms 3/9/2020 10
28-RC-257781 New Mexico Gas Company 3/9/2020 290
04-RC-257730 The Washington Consulting Group, lnc. 3/10/2020 4
04-RC-257746 Inspira Medical Centers, Inc. 3/10/2020 160
07-RD-257830 Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc. 3/10/2020 161
12-RC-257813 Cemex Construction Materials Florida, LLC 3/10/2020 37
13-RC-257718 Refresh Club Inc, DBA: The Wing 3/10/2020 18
18-RC-257776 OT Training Solutions, LLC 3/10/2020 3
22-RC-257724 Planned Lifestyle Services, a part of and related to Planned Companies 3/10/2020 5
22-RC-257765 CORT Business Services Corporation 3/10/2020 48
29-RC-257831  Planned Building Services, Inc. and Planned Lifestyle Services, Inc., part of and related to Planne 3/10/2020 6
01-RC-257843 NSMC Healthcare, Inc. – Salem Hospital 3/11/2020 1100
01-RC-257856 Lincare, Inc. 3/11/2020 11
01-RC-257875 Hilton Garden Inn East Boston 3/11/2020 32
03-RC-257840 Kaleida Health 3/11/2020 41
05-RC-257825 Alliance for Justice 3/11/2020 22
05-RC-257868 Akima, LLC 3/11/2020 5
05-RC-257876 EMCOR Government Services, Inc. 3/11/2020 5
05-RC-257895 Akima, LLC 3/11/2020 8
10-RC-257846 Universal Protection Service, LLC d/b/a Allied Universal Security Services 3/11/2020 70
12-RC-257857 Morrison Management Specialists, Inc. d/b/a Morrison Healthcare 3/11/2020 26
12-RC-257917 Sea World of Florida, LLC 3/11/2020 81
16-RC-257874 Victory Wine Group, LLC 3/11/2020 12
01-RC-257923 Compass Group USA, Inc. d/b/a Chartwells School Dining Services 3/12/2020 15
02-RC-258153 Millennium Tower Residences 3/12/2020 16
05-RC-257910 Flynn Architectural Finishes LLC 3/12/2020 28
06-RC-257937 General Cable 3/12/2020 171
13-RC-257879 EPIC Academy 3/12/2020 44
27-RC-257949 DilIon Companies, LLC d/b/a King Soopers 3/12/2020 5
28-RC-257985 Kerberos International, Inc. 3/12/2020 28
29-RC-257999 New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities IV 3/12/2020 40
01-RC-257982 Mayflower Medicinals 3/13/2020 32
08-RC-257944 Sifco Industries, Inc. 3/13/2020 97
08-RD-257948 Scioto Services LLC 3/13/2020 26
10-RC-258012 Metropolitan Security Services, Inc. d/b/a Walden Security 3/13/2020 21
19-RC-257993 MPF Federal, LLC 3/13/2020 19
19-RC-258041 Anning-Johnson Company 3/13/2020 24
20-RC-257991 Dignity Community Care, and its subsidiary Saint Francis Memorial Hospital 3/13/2020 17
20-RC-257995 International Life Support, Inc. d/b/a American Medical Response 3/13/2020 93
29-RM-257958 Polmost Food Corp. d/b/a Associated Supermarkets 3/13/2020 34
05-RC-258064 Flynn Architectural Finishes, Inc. 3/16/2020 28
10-RC-258073 Workforce Resources, Inc. 3/16/2020 20
14-RD-258026 KETV 3/16/2020 18
15-RC-258002 Securitas Security Services U.S.A., Inc. 3/16/2020 10
15-RC-258014 MV Transportation, Inc 3/16/2020 48
19-RC-258038 Family Centered Services of Alaska 3/16/2020 50
19-RC-258057 Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC 3/16/2020 1
32-RC-258050 Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. and International Disposal Corp. of California 3/16/2020 6
03-RC-258061 TCGplayer, Inc. 3/17/2020 96
03-RC-258062 Empire Merchants North, LLC 3/17/2020 4
04-RC-258148 Pike County Light & Power Company 3/17/2020 8
10-RC-258074 Lee BHM Corp d/b/a The Roanoke Times 3/17/2020 53
13-RC-258090 Hyatt Place O’Hare, LLC 3/17/2020 7
19-RC-258144 2101 LLC d/b/a Intercontinental Truck Body 3/17/2020 18
21-RC-258117 Care Ambulance Service, Inc., d/b/a Falck USA, Inc. 3/17/2020 1077
21-RD-258082 Kaiser Permanente – Southern California Permanente Medical Group 3/17/2020 413
18-RC-258165 Alltech d/b/a Ridley 3/18/2020 4
20-RC-258155 Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling Company d/b/a Recology Golden Gate 3/18/2020 6
21-RD-258174 Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals 3/19/2020 413
29-RC-258178 The Children’s Law Center, Inc. 3/19/2020 53
32-RC-258278 Ryder 3/20/2020 33
02-RC-258334 Safe Passage Project 3/23/2020 26
07-RC-258307 Ascension Providence Hospital 3/23/2020 75
09-RC-258309 DTSV, Inc. and Lockwood Hills Federal, Joint Employers 3/23/2020 388
12-RC-258326 MyCity Transportation, LLC 3/23/2020 22
31-RM-258277 Douglas Emmett Management, LLC/Douglas Emmett Management, Inc. 3/23/2020 4
03-RC-258311 Northern Dutchess Hospital 3/24/2020 215
08-RC-258375 Lyon Video, Inc. and Video Crew Service, LLC 3/24/2020 105
05-RC-258395 Elite Protective Services, Inc. 3/25/2020 14
32-RC-258444 Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. 3/26/2020 33
06-RC-258518 Harborcreek Youth Services 3/27/2020 7
09-RM-258504 New Lebanon SNF, LLC d/b/a Skld New Lebanon 3/27/2020 58
22-RC-258529 Planned Lifestyle Services, a part of and related to Planned Companies 3/27/2020 6
32-RC-258519 California Forensic Medical Group, Inc. (Wellpath) 3/27/2020 98
04-RD-258626 Lehigh Hanson Aggregates 3/30/2020 8
22-RC-258533 Planned Building Services and Planned Lifestyle Services, affiliated with Planned Companies 3/30/2020 7
29-RC-258544 Homyn Enterprises  d/b/a  Secure Wrap 3/30/2020 50
18-RC-258607 Ramsey Excavating Company d/b/a  Ramsey Companies 3/31/2020 9
18-RC-258635 Abbott Northwestern Hospital 3/31/2020 90
Total workers: 16,900

Source: Election petitions were obtained from the NLRB through FOIA requests NLRB-2020-000891 (submitted June 10, 2020, records released July 9, 2020).

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Endnotes

1. S. REP. No. 79-1184, at 4 (1934).

2. As noted in McNicholas et al. 2020, by not requiring employers to make a compelling case that the proposed unit in the petition is unworkable, the law allows employers to gerrymander the bargaining unit by adding workers they think will vote against the union or removing those who support representation.

3. Lechmere, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 502 U.S. 527 (1992).

4. For a recent example, see the DISH TV case study in Lafer and Loustaunau 2020.

5. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Representation-Case Procedures [request for information], 82 Fed. Reg. 58783-58790 (December 17, 2019).

6. AFL-CIO v. NLRB, Civ. No. 20-cv-0675 (D.D.C. 2020), available at https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2020cv0675-40.

7. Excelsior Underwear, Inc., 156 NLRB 1236, 1239-40 (1966).

8. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Representation-Case Procedures: Voter List Contact Information; Absentee Ballots for Employees on Military Leave [proposed rule], 85 Fed. Reg. 45553-45568 (July 29, 2020).

9. Caesars Entertainment d/b/a Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, 368 NLRB No. 143 (2019); Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB 1050 (2014).

10. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Representation-Case Procedures: Election Bars; Proof of Majority Support in Construction-Industry Collective-Bargaining Relationships [final rule], 85 Fed. Reg. 18366-18400 (April 1, 2020).

11. The 1.2% refers to the share of cases in which employees voted to not have a union through a secret ballot election, even after showing they had a majority support during the voluntary recognition process. See 84 Fed. Reg. 39950 (August 12, 2019), citing Lamons Gasket, 357 NLRB at 742.

12. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Representation-Case Procedures: Election Bars; Proof of Majority Support in Construction-Industry Collective-Bargaining Relationships [final rule], 85 Fed. Reg. 18366-18400 (April 1, 2020).

13. 84 Fed. Reg. 69528 (December 18, 2019), fn 15.

 

References

Corasaniti, Nick, and Stephanie Saul. 2020. “16 States Have Postponed Primaries During the Pandemic. Here’s a List.New York Times, August 10, 2020.

Feigenbaum, James, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, and Vanessa Williamson. 2018. “From the Bargaining Table to the Ballot Box: Political Effects of Right to Work Laws.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper no. 24259, January 2018.

Feldman, Max. 2020. Dirty Tricks: 9 Falsehoods That Could Undermine the 2020 Election. Brennan Center for Justice, July 2020.

Kochan, Thomas, William T. Kimball, Duanyi Yang, and Erin L. Kelly. 2018. “Voice Gaps at Work, Options for Closing Them, and Challenges for Future Actions and Research.” MIT Sloan School of Management, Institute for Work and Employment Research working paper, June 2018.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. 2020. “Honor the Life and Legacy of the Late Representative John Lewis by Passing Federal Legislation to Safeguard the Fundamental Right to Vote.” Letter submitted to Congress, July 28, 2020, and posted on the conference’s Voting Rights Resources page.

Lafer, Gordon, and Lola Loustaunau. 2020. Fear at work: An Inside Account of How Employers Threaten, Intimidate, and Harass Workers to Stop Them from Exercising their Right to Collective Bargaining. Economic Policy Institute, July 2020.

Levine, Sam, and Ankita Rao. 2020. “In 2013 the Supreme Court Gutted Voting Rights–How Has it Changed the US?The Guardian, June 25, 2020.

McNicholas, Celine, Margaret Poydock, and Lynn Rhinehart. 2019. Unprecedented: The Trump NLRB’s Attack on Workers’ Rights. Economic Policy Institute, October 2019.

McNicholas, Celine, Margaret Poydock, Julia Wolfe, Ben Zipperer, Gordon Lafer, and Lola Loustaunau. 2019. Unlawful: U.S. Employers Are Charged with Violating Federal Law in 41.5% of All Union Election Campaigns. Economic Policy Institute, December 2019.

McNicholas, Celine, Lynn Rhinehart, and Margaret Poydock. 2020. 50 Reasons the Trump Administration Is Bad for Workers. Economic Policy Institute, September 2020.

McNicholas, Celine, Lynn Rhinehart, Margaret Poydock, Heidi Shierholz, and Daniel Perez. 2020. Why Unions are Good for Workers—Especially in a Crisis Like COVID-19: 12 Policies That Would Boost Worker Rights, Safety, and Wages. Economic Policy Institute, August 2020.

Millhiser, Ian. 2020. “Republicans Plan to Spend at least $20 million to Combat Voting Rights Lawsuits in 2020.” Vox, May 8, 2020.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 2020. “NLRB to Implement All Election Rule Changes Unaffected by Court Ruling” (news release). June 1, 2020.

Nichols, John. 2020. “Donald Trump and His Postmaster General Are Sabotaging Democracy in Plain Sight.” Nation, August 13, 2020.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 2020, “Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2474 — Protecting the Right to Organize Act.” February 5, 2020.

Rizzo, Salvador. 2020. “Trump’s Fusillade of Falsehoods on Mail Voting.” Washington Post, September 11, 2020.

Shierholz, Heidi. 2020. The Number of Workers Represented by a Union Held Steady in 2019, While Union Membership Fell. Economic Policy Institute, January 2020.


 


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