The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is the Federal Agency that regulates Unions outside the air and rail transport industries.

Rising Power: Union Growth Has Wings, Report Finds

Organizing
7 October 2022

The Machinists Union held its Grand Lodge Convention in Las Vegas this week. This year, District 141 was recognized with a special award for its efforts at union organizing. District President, Mike Klemm, was specifically honored for his pioneering efforts in growing the Union, which is expected to add more than ten thousand new union members over the next few years.

The recognition comes at a time when union growth and worker power are surging.

A new report by a major Federal Agency that oversees labor affairs in the United States is backing up what many workers have already noticed: union growth is exploding across the United States.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, no fewer than 2,510 workplaces petitioned the Agency to join or form a union. (Fiscal Years do not line up with calendar years. The Fiscal Year 2022 ran from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.

 

Last year, the number of workplaces filing for a union election was 1,638. The uptick means a 53% increase in workers seeking to organize their workplaces over the last year. 

The number of filings at the NLRB’s 48 field offices in 2022 was the highest since 2016.

Unfair labor practice complaints filed with NLRB Field Offices also jumped by 19%, from 15,082 charges in 2021 to 17,988 charges in 2022.

Adding labor complaints filed with the Agency to the number of representation filings, the

total new caseload at NLRB Field Offices increased by 23%, from 16,720 cases last year to 20,498 in 2022. This increase of 3,778 cases is the biggest single-year increase in a generation, dating all the way back to 1976. It is the biggest percentage increase since 1959.

What it Means

The new report puts to rest the idea that the appearance of massive union growth is an illusion created by a handful of ultra-high-profile organizing efforts. While victories and drives at headline-grabbing workplaces like Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joes’, Apple, and JetBlue are getting a lot of attention, the 53% single-year jump means a lot is going on under the radar, too.

The data also indicates that the federal government’s protections for workers who want to organize are inadequate. Unions have found support from an astounding 71% of American workers, yet fewer than 7% of private-sector workers are union members. The data strongly suggests that it is harder to organize workplaces than American workers want.

The huge spike in complaints about employers violating workers’ rights to form a union indicates serious deficiencies in the current system.

 

Last year, the number of workplaces filing for a union election was 1,638. The uptick means a 53% increase in workers seeking to organize their workplaces over the last year. 

The number of filings at the NLRB’s 48 field offices in 2022 was the highest since 2016.

Unfair labor practice complaints filed with NLRB Field Offices also jumped by 19%, from 15,082 charges in 2021 to 17,988 charges in 2022.

Adding labor complaints filed with the Agency to the number of representation filings, the total new caseload at NLRB Field Offices increased by 23%, from 16,720 cases last year to 20,498 in 2022. This increase of 3,778 cases is the biggest single-year increase in a generation, dating all the way back to 1976. It is the biggest percentage increase since 1959.

In response to such concerns, the NLRB issued a statement explaining the Agency is processing cases much more quickly, but the sheer number of new filings is threatening to swamp already-thin budgets. 

The increased caseload at both field offices and the Board is happening as the Agency struggles with funding and staffing shortages. The NLRB has received the same budget of $274.2 million for nine straight years – even as costs have risen. Adjusting for inflation, the Agency’s budget has decreased by 25% since 2014. Staffing levels have dropped 39% since 2002, and staffing in Field Offices has shrunk by half, partly explaining the problem. 

The NLRB issued an urgent call to the Biden Administration and Congress asking for better funding for the Agency to pay for things like staff to ease the growing caseload. For its part, the Biden budget includes a sharp increase in funding. The President’s Budget for 2023 requested $319.4 million for the NLRB, a 16% increase that would go a long way toward fixing the issues at the Agency.

What Happens Next

The increased activity at the NLRB will likely have a ripple effect throughout the economy. With more workers wanting to unionize and more complaints of employer wrongdoing, we can expect to see more workplaces engage in union organizing drives – and more employers trying to stop them. 

We can also expect to see more legal challenges to the current system. The NLRB’s ability to protect workers’ rights is already being tested in court, and the new data will likely add fuel to those fires.

The report is a clear indication that American workers are increasingly interested in unionizing. With the proper support from the government, we could see a major resurgence in union membership in the years to come. 

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Rising Power: Union Growth Has Wings, Report Finds

7 October 2022

Now it’s official; requests to join a union jump by 53% in a single year.

The Machinists Union held its Grand Lodge Convention in Las Vegas this week. This year, District 141 was recognized with a special award for its efforts at union organizing. District President, Mike Klemm, was specifically honored for his pioneering efforts in growing the Union, which is expected to add more than ten thousand new union members over the next few years.

The recognition comes at a time when union growth and worker power are surging.

A new report by a major Federal Agency that oversees labor affairs in the United States is backing up what many workers have already noticed: union growth is exploding across the United States.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, no fewer than 2,510 workplaces petitioned the Agency to join or form a union. (Fiscal Years do not line up with calendar years. The Fiscal Year 2022 ran from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.

Last year, the number of workplaces filing for a union election was 1,638. The uptick means a 53% increase in workers seeking to organize their workplaces over the last year. 

 

The number of filings at the NLRB’s 48 field offices in 2022 was the highest since 2016.

Unfair labor practice complaints filed with NLRB Field Offices also jumped by 19%, from 15,082 charges in 2021 to 17,988 charges in 2022.

Adding labor complaints filed with the Agency to the number of representation filings, the total new caseload at NLRB Field Offices increased by 23%, from 16,720 cases last year to 20,498 in 2022. This increase of 3,778 cases is the biggest single-year increase in a generation, dating all the way back to 1976. It is the biggest percentage increase since 1959.

What it Means

The new report puts to rest the idea that the appearance of massive union growth is an illusion created by a handful of ultra-high-profile organizing efforts. While victories and drives at headline-grabbing workplaces like Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joes’, Apple, and JetBlue are getting a lot of attention, the 53% single-year jump means a lot is going on under the radar, too.

 

The data also indicates that the federal government’s protections for workers who want to organize are inadequate. Unions have found support from an astounding 71% of American workers, yet fewer than 7% of private-sector workers are union members. The data strongly suggests that it is harder to organize workplaces than American workers want.

The huge spike in complaints about employers violating workers’ rights to form a union indicates serious deficiencies in the current system.

In response to such concerns, the NLRB issued a statement explaining the Agency is processing cases much more quickly, but the sheer number of new filings is threatening to swamp already-thin budgets.

The increased caseload at both field offices and the Board is happening as the Agency struggles with funding and staffing shortages. The NLRB has received the same budget of $274.2 million for nine straight years – even as costs have risen. Adjusting for inflation, the Agency’s budget has decreased by 25% since 2014. Staffing levels have dropped 39% since 2002, and staffing in Field Offices has shrunk by half, partly explaining the problem.

The NLRB issued an urgent call to the Biden Administration and Congress asking for better funding for the Agency to pay for things like staff to ease the growing caseload. For its part, the Biden budget includes a sharp increase in funding. The President’s Budget for 2023 requested $319.4 million for the NLRB, a 16% increase that would go a long way toward fixing the issues at the Agency.

What Happens Next

The increased activity at the NLRB will likely have a ripple effect throughout the economy. With more workers wanting to unionize and more complaints of employer wrongdoing, we can expect to see more workplaces engage in union organizing drives – and more employers trying to stop them.

We can also expect to see more legal challenges to the current system. The NLRB’s ability to protect workers’ rights is already being tested in court, and the new data will likely add fuel to those fires.

The report is a clear indication that American workers are increasingly interested in unionizing. With the proper support from the government, we could see a major resurgence in union membership in the years to come.

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