Category Archives: Organizing

Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work

Source: Rebecca Smith, Harmony Goldberg, Excluded Workers’ Congress, December 2010

In June 2010, against the backdrop of the global recession, nine sectors of excluded workers came together to found the Excluded Workers Congress. They converged around a common dream: to vastly expand the human right to organize in the United States, to win a new era of rights and policies for workers, and to transform the labor movement in this country. The Excluded Workers Congress was formed to bring “the human right to organize” to life.

The nine sectors of the Excluded Workers Congress include domestic workers, farm workers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, day laborers, guestworkers, workers from Southern right-to-work states, workfare workers and formerly incarcerated workers.

Resources for Evaluating Community Organizing

Source: Alliance for Justice, 2010

As Alliance for Justice has developed tools and strategies for evaluating advocacy work, we have often been asked for more specific information about evaluating community organizing. We have found that the range of organizing styles, approaches, and philosophies in use can make it challenging to formulate a consistent mechanism for evaluating the organizing process and its outcomes. This lack of consistent evaluation often contributes to a misunderstanding or devaluing of organizing work by funders, policy makers, and community-based organizations.

The Future of NLRB Doctrine on Captive Audience Speeches

Source: Paul M. Secunda, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 10-37, 2010

From the abstract:
Under the National Labor Relations Act, as interpreted by the courts and the National Labor Relations Board (Board) over the last sixty years, employers have been permitted to give captive audience speeches at work to employees contemplating unionization. Employees must attend such meetings, cannot question the employer representative, and may not have the union come to the workplace to present opposing views. Not surprisingly, these speeches are one of the most effective anti-union weapons that employers currently have in their arsenal. Now that the Board has both a quorum and a sizable Democratic majority, this Essay considers if, and how, the Obama Board might limit the rights of employers to engage in captive audience speeches during union organizational campaigns.

Unions in the Healthcare Industry

Source: Leslie Goff Sanders and Alonda W. McCutcheon, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 61 no. 3, Fall 2010
(subscription required)

Labor unions in the healthcare industry have been much in the news of late, particularly the emergence of large and well-funded nursing unions. There is a sense of urgency among nursing unions to organize nurses in large numbers, as well as an increased push to organize other groups of healthcare workers. What is the impact of this increased organizing activity within the healthcare industry? Beyond the obvious answer of unions’ desire to rebuild ailing labor unions and increase dues revenue in order to fully answer these questions it is important to understand both the past and the current labor relations landscape. This article will provide an overview of the application of labor law in the healthcare industry and a practical discussion of the changes businesses face if their workforce becomes unionized.

Hope in Cooperatives? An Organizer’s Thoughts for the Future

Source: Robert Witherell, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, Volume 20, Number 3, 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In an address at a Jobs with Justice conference, a veteran organizer takes a look at the value of cooperatives in boosting economic conditions and at his union’s agreement with one such organization.

“Acting Like a Union”: Protecting Workers’ Free Choice by Promising Workers’ Collective Action

Source: Brishen Rogers, Harvard Law Review Forum, Vol. 123 no. 3, January 2010

Responding to Benjamin I. Sachs, Enabling Employee Choice: A Structural Approach to the Rules of Union Organizing, 123 Harv. L. Rev. 655 (2010)

From the summary:
In his article Enabling Employee Choice, Professor Benjamin Sachs presented a robust exploration of the problems associated with union certification laws and potential “card check” reforms. In this response, Professor Brishen Rogers argues that limiting managerial interference in union organizing drives is only the first step in facilitating the free choice of employees. To do so the law must also encourage workplace solidarity and collective action. Professor Rogers argues that the value of card solicitation is not as a tool to keep organizing efforts secret, but instead as a means to publicize workers’ commitment to their coworkers. Professor Rogers concludes that labor law reform must encourage worker collective action and solidarity, while also protecting employees from union and management coercion, and proposes an alternate system of union certification to achieve those goals.
Freeing Employee Choice: The Case For Secrecy in Union Organizing and Voting
Source: Cynthia Estlund, Harvard Law Review Forum, Vol. 123 no. 3, January 2010

Elections, Neutrality Agreements, and Card Checks: The Failure of the Political Model of Industrial Democracy

Source: James Moore, Richard A. Bales, Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 87, 2011

From the abstract:
The secret-ballot election is the National Labor Relations Board’s preferred method for employees to determine whether they wish to be represented by a union. Employer domination of the election process, however, has led many unions to opt out of elections and instead to demand recognition based on authorization cards signed by a majority of employees. The primary objection to this “card check” process is that it is less democratic than the secret-ballot election. This article places the issue in the context of the theoretical basis for claims of industrial democracy and argues that card checks are more consistent with the basic premises of industrial democracy than are extant Board elections.

The Evolution of Construction Union Greenmail: Legal and Political Developments, Adverse Consequences, and Combat Tips

Source: Charles S. Birenbaum and Nicole M. Friedenberg, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 35 no. 4, Spring 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this article, the authors explain that for approximately two decades, the “corporate campaign” has become an effective way for organized labor to coerce employers into recognizing a union as the exclusive representative of its workers. Rather than target an employer’s employees, a union corporate campaign starts at the top: it involves an analysis of a company’s power structure so as to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in the company’s critical stakeholder relationships. The authors point out that “greenmail” – a spin on the term “blackmail” under environmental law – is one aspect of this top-down format that achieves union organizing objectives by persuading employers, rather than employees, to recognize a union as its employees’ exclusive representative.

What Every Employer Should Know About the Law of Union Organizing

Source: Daryll J. Neuser and Daniel Barker, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 35 no. 4, Spring 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The authors observe that with several federal labor law changes on the horizon, the financial stakes for employers may increase dramatically. Prudent employers are well-advised to understand the law of union organizing. The authors discuss the early signs of union organizing and detail unfair labor practices arising during union organization campaigns.