Category Archives: Organizing

Urban labour, voice and legitimacy: economic development and the emergence of community unionism

Source: Graham Symon, Jonathan Crawshaw, Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 40 no. 2, published online February 20, 2009
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From the abstract:
Community unionism has emerged in the past decade as a growing strand of industrial relations research and is influencing trade union strategies for renewal. This article seeks to further develop the concept, while exploring the potential roles for unions in communities subject to projects of urban regeneration.

A Contract Campaign Across Unions

Source: Doug Swanson, Labor Notes, February 20, 2009

As Wisconsin faces a nearly $6 billion budget deficit, state employee unions are determined to make sure the crisis isn’t “solved” on our backs. All union contracts with the state will expire June 30. As we strategize, we’re remembering our successful campaign–“A Deal’s a Deal”–from 2003.

Can Unions Win Without the Employee Free Choice Act?

Source: Labor Notes, March 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate the requirement for a two-step process in union drives–first sign up a majority of workers, then hold an election. But is it the election itself that’s the problem, or the very uneven playing field on which it’s held, where the employer has all the advantages?

Putting a Big Chill on a “Big Hurt:” Genuine Interest in Employment of Salts in Assessing Protection Under the National Labor Relations Act

Source: Jeffrey A. Mello, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Published online: 25 July 2008


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From the abstract:


As union membership has continued to decline steadily in the US, union organizers have become more creative and vigilant with their organizing strategies. Chief among these strategies has been “salting,” a process by which unions attempt to organize employees from the inside rather than the outside. The Supreme Court has ruled that, under the National Labor Relations Act, “salts” cannot be discriminated against solely on the basis of their status as salts. This paper examines employer responses to resist salting efforts, including a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board, which redefines the landscape under which salting activities can be conducted and considered protected activity.

Getting Organized: Unionizing Home-Based Child Care Providers

Source: Deborah Chalfie, Helen Blank, and Joan Entmacher, National Women’s Law Center, February 2007

This report by the National Women’s Law Center shows how communities benefit when workers join unions. The report highlights three states where home-based child care providers have joined unions and signed a contract. The workers, in turn, used their political power to help their communities receive increased funding for child care and improved working conditions for providers.

The Eyes of the Needles: A Sequential Model of Union Organizing Drives, 1999-2004

Source: John-Paul Ferguson, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, October 2008
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This paper models three stages of the union organizing drive, using a new dataset covering more than 22,000 drives that took place between 1999 and 2004. The correlated sequential model tracks drives through all of their potential stages: holding an election, winning an election, and reaching first contracts. Only one-seventh of organizing drives that filed an election petition with the NLRB managed to reach a first contract within a year of certification. The model, which controls for the endogeneity of unfair labor practice (ULP) charges, finds that a ULP charge was associated with a 30% smaller cumulative chance of reaching such a contract. ULP charges had less effect on the votes cast than on the decision to hold an election and the ability to reach a first contract. A sequential model such as this one could be extended to test between some competing theories about the determinants of union organizing.

Organizing at the Margins: Women Shape the Labor Movement

Source: WorkingUSA, Vol. 11 no. 4, December 2008
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This issue contains the following articles:
DOMESTIC WORKERS ORGANIZE!
Eileen Boris, Premilla Nadasen

CRAFTING KINSHIP AT HOME AND WORK: WOMEN MINERS IN WYOMING
Jessica M. Smith

WOMEN’S UNION LEADERSHIP: CLOSING THE GENDER GAP
Michelle Kaminski, Elaine K. Yakura

OUT FRONT AND STRONG: LOCAL WOMEN OF THE TENNESSEE COMMITTEE ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
Jessica Wilkerson

TAKING ONE’S PART IN THE REVOLUTION”: A COMPARISON OF WOMEN’S LABOR AS TOOLS OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE IN FRANCE, VIET NAM, AND POLAND
Pamela Stewart

Union Access to Workers During Union Organizing Campaigns: A New Look through the Lens of Health Services

Source: David J. Doorey, York University, October 16, 2008

From the abstract:
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the recent Health Services decision that the Canadian Constitutional protection of “freedom of association” should be interpreted to provide at least as much protection of associational rights as provided by international conventions that Canada has ratified (the “Equivalency Requirement”). However, the Court then made the Equivalency Requirement conditional upon a second requirement when it ruled that only government interference that amounts to a “substantial impairment” of freedom of association is protected (the “Substantial Impairment Requirement”). Therefore, Canadian laws that provide less protection for freedom of association than ratified international conventions will be Constitutionally valid provided they do not “substantially interfere” with freedom of association. This paper explores this peculiar result using the issue of union access to employer property for the purpose of organizing. In doing so, the article compares the approaches to union access to employer property under Canadian, American, and British law, as well as the approach of the ILO’s supervisory bodies interpreting ILO Convention 87, which Canada has ratified.

Stacking the Deck: Privileging ‘Employer Free Choice’ over Industrial Democracy in the Card Check Debate

Source: Raja Raghunath, University Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-10, Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 87, 2008

From the abstract:
“Card check” organizing is the most controversial issue in labor law today, and this article is the first to analyze Dana Corp., the landmark decision on card check that was issued by the National Labor Relations Board in September 2007. The Dana Corp. decision represents a fundamental shift in American labor relations, away from safeguarding the rights of employees to collectively bargain, and towards safeguarding employer choice as to whether to engage in collective bargaining at all. The purpose of this article is to call attention to this shift, and to refocus the card-check debate on the fundamental principle of asymmetrical employer power in the workplace. The importance of this principle in understanding the arguments surrounding card check is heightened by the shift in labor relations signaled by the Dana Corp. decision, as well as two significant recent developments in the California and Illinois public sector that also have gone unanalyzed.