A labor relations consulting firm detailed in a report Thursday how a recently established workplace election rule has increased the rate in which unions win representation rights.
The Labor Relations Institute looked at how the rule has impacted union elections, since it was established in April, 2015. The report found unions have experienced more wins as the time it takes to hold an election decreases.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) argued its new election rule is designed to streamline and modernize union elections. But critics have contested it’s designed to benefit unions at the expense of workers.
“Election periods are substantially faster since the rule went into effect,” the report said. “Elections under the rule happen about 1/3 faster than they did before the rule was adopted. Many fear these periods could shrink even further.”
Labor unions have held roughly one hundred elections since the new rule was implemented. Union elections used to take an average of 36 days, but now take 24 days between when the petition is filed and the election is held. The report notes there are still fairly long elections, despite the overall averages going down.
“Union win rates are up,” the reported continued. “Since the rule went into place unions are winning about 3 percent more elections than they did in 2014. If you go back further the win rate jump looks even more pronounced, around an 8% improvement over 2012 and 2013.”
Republican lawmakers and business groups have claimed the rule change unfairly benefits unions because it leaves workers little time to study the impact of unionizing. The Republican-controlled congress tried to prevent the rule with a resolution but it was vetoed by President Barack Obama. Lawsuits filed against the administration by the business community have also had trouble.
“This increased win rate means around 50 more election wins this year,” the report noted. “Those 50 election wins will probably net unions 700 or so new represented workers.”
Seasonal trends could be influencing the rise of union wins as well, the report adds. Additionally, union wins have not changed much when compared to averages over several decades. Unions used to be much more popular, but average membership has declined significantly over the generations. The increased union wins have occurred in mostly small workplaces.
Labor policy has changed substantially in key areas throughout the Obama administration. How employers work with unions, contracting, franchising and overtime rules have all been altered in ways critics say benefits unions.
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