Category Archives: Organizing

Temp Agency Workers In New Jersey’s Logistics Hub: The Case For A Union Hiring Hall

Source: George Gonos and Carmen Martino, WorkingUSA, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article reports on preliminary research concerning temp agency workers in the logistics hub that serves the Port of Newark/Elizabeth. Our objective is to explore the potential for organizing temporary workers in this industry, and the viability of the hiring hall model in particular. The first section describes several aspects of the regional labor market in which temp agency workers are recruited for the inland warehouses and distribution centers. The second section explores the history and legality of hiring halls, and why this organizing model has in recent decades faded into disuse. The third section sets forth an exploratory plan for organizing the temporary workforce in New Jersey’s logistics industry.

Employee Free Choice: Amplifying Employee Voice without Silencing Employers: A Proposal for Reforming the National Labor Relations Act

Source: Amy Livingston, Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 45 no. 1, Fall 2011

This Note investigates the effectiveness of the National Labor Relations Act
(NLRA) in balancing unions’, employers’, and employees’ rights during the course of union organizing drives. After reviewing case law and commentary, it concludes that the NLRA’s certification regime is ineffective and permits pressures that inhibit employees from expressing their real desires about whether or not to be represented by a union. This Note then examines proposed alternatives for certifying unions, and takes note of Canada’s federal and ten provincial certification regimes. Finally, it concludes that the NLRA must be amended to protect worker free choice, and proposes reforms including limiting unions to a public sixty-day organizing campaign, designing a uniform authorization card to be
submitted with a fee by employees desiring union representation, and establishing a verification process for these cards.

Card-Check Laws and Public-Sector Union Membership in the States

Source: Timothy D. Chandler and Rafael Gely, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 36 no. 4, December 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We examine the impact of state card-check legislation on public-sector union membership. Based on an empirical analysis of data from 2000 to 2009, a time during which eight states enacted card-check legislation for public employees, we find significantly higher levels of public-sector union membership for states that passed card-check legislation in years after the laws were enacted relative to states that did not pass such laws. Moreover, average public-sector union membership increased for the states that passed card-check legislation after the laws were passed relative to their precard-check law union-membership levels.

Domestic Workers and Cooperatives: Beyondcare Goes Beyond Capitalism, A Case Study in Brooklyn, New York

Source: Ken Estey, WorkingUSA, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Worker-owned and worker-managed cooperatives have a long history in the U.S. They pose an alternative to workplaces structured within capitalism that are hierarchical and do not feature collective decision-making. The short history of the cooperative movement in this article sets the context for a study of workers in Brooklyn, who are also immigrants, in the field of child care. These workers face additional hurdles to full empowerment at work as they lack comprehensive labor law protection and must contend with the under-enforcement of existing laws in the U.S. Home-based child care is inherently isolated and does not foster opportunities for workers to organize in traditional ways. These conditions create a compelling rationale for workers to resist their exploitation through self-organization and the creation of worker cooperatives. This article will describe how the BeyondCare child care cooperative in Sunset Park, Brooklyn offers its worker owners control over their labor and unfettered access to their earnings. BeyondCare is a useful case study because it is a worker cooperative made up of immigrant women who have learned from other immigrant worker owners how to create meaningful living-wage labor. The worker owners offer a timely example about the power of immigrant women to reach into a privatized place in the U.S. economy–home-based labor–and to recreate that work into something that works for them.

Will Today’s Excluded Workers Midwife Labor’s Rebirth?

Source: New Labor Forum, Vol. 20 no. 3, Fall 2011
(subscription required)

Worker Centers: Entering a New Stage of Growth and Development
By Janice Fine
Do worker centers represent the next stage of labor insurgency?

The Excluded Workers Congress: Reimagining the Right to Organize
By Harmony Goldberg and Randy Jackson
A report from the founding convention.

Using an Independent Monitor to Resolve Union-Organizing Disputes Outside the NLRB

Source: William B. Gould IV, Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 66 no. 2, May-July 2011
(subscription required)

Facing an aggressive union-organizing campaign at its U.S. subsidiary, a multi-national company implemented an unprecedented ADR program to address complaints that management violated the company’s corporate social responsibility policy and its commitment to the right of employees to associate with a union. The program, known as the Independent Monitor could be a model for other companies.

Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns, 1951-2007

Source: John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 2011

From the abstract:
This report uses published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to update an index, first developed by Weiler (1983) in the Harvard Law Review and modified by LaLonde and Meltzer (1991) in the University of Chicago Law Review, of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign. We use the more conservative LaLonde and Meltzer methodology and also make adjustments for the rise since the mid-1990s in “majority sign-up” or “card check” organizing campaigns.

Using the Weiler (1983) and LaLonde and Meltzer (1991) methodology, we find that in the 2000s workers were illegally fired in over 1-in-4 (26 percent) of union election campaigns, up sharply from about 16 percent in the late 1990s. In 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, 30 percent of union election campaigns had an illegal firing. Pro-union workers faced about a 2.3 percent chance of being illegally fired during the course of the campaign. Even after we adjust for the effect of the rise in majority sign-up organizing campaigns, pro-union workers in 2007 appeared to have a 1.8 percent chance of being illegally fired.

In Florida, An Organizing Drive that Doubled the Union

Source: Paul Ortiz, Labor Notes, July 11, 2011

Republican Governor Rick Scott recently signed measures making it harder to vote, moving Florida back toward its Jim Crow past. We are one of several states with no department to enforce wage and hour standards.

Despite these obstacles, faculty members in Florida’s public institutions of higher learning have been building unions in our right-to-work state at an outstanding rate in recent months. At the University of Florida union density was about 20 percent last year. Now it’s over 40 percent and rapidly rising.

….One key impetus was the state legislature’s attack on public employee unionism….Faculty started to see their union in a different way. It wasn’t just about bargaining on campus. It was about the bigger picture of state and national politics, budget cuts to education, and ongoing attacks on public sector workers–us!