Union Free America
No Holds Barred
No Holds Barred
On May 20, the Economic Policy Institute issued a report titled “No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing.” http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp235/
The report, written by Cornell professor Kate Bronfenbrenner, finds that between 1999 and 2003 employer resistance to union organizing increased. This is shocking. One would have thought that after reading Bronfenbrenner’s 1998 tome, “Organizing to Win,” employers would have realized the error of their ways and not just dropped their opposition to union organizing, but welcomed union organizers with open arms. Oh well, it’s like the refrain in the 1960’s song about where all the flowers have gone, “when will they ever learn?”
There are a few small problems with the methodology of this report. Apparently, the main source of information about employer attitudes was union organizers. There is no indication that any of the employers involved were ever contacted to verify or comment on the statements of the union organizers. This problem is compounded by the fact that the sample of elections in the study contains a significantly higher percent of union losses than was average for NLRB elections during that time frame.
So, you have union organizers who are less successful than average being asked whether they lost because of increased employer opposition. What in the world do you expect them to say? “Oh no the employer was OK, the employees just didn’t want a union.” Come on!
The problems with the report’s credibility are compounded by the fact that the Economic Policy Institute and American Rights At Work, a major sponsor of the study, both receive millions of dollars in financial support from labor unions.
The mainstream media should be complimented by the fact that “No Holds Barred” has been on the street for two days and still hasn’t received any significant attention. That aside, you can just bet that in the not too distant future some union boss or friendly Congressman will be citing the report as further evidence of the need for legislation like the perversely named “Employee Free Choice Act,” which would deprive working Americans of their right to a secret ballot vote on union representation.
Update: Ricardo Torres, who for many years was a union organizer and now runs a labor relations consulting firm called Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants, posted a stinging critique of "No Holds Barred" on his web page. This is must reading for those specifically concerned about this issue and would be very valuable for anyone concerned about union organizing tactics. Click here for a link to that critique.
Posted May 22, 2009
Updated June 19, 2009