The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) applies strict rules of conduct to employers during union-organizing campaigns. But whether you choose to accept the union or resist it, you can still exercise your rights effectively. Or, if a union has already won a representation election in your organization, you need to know how to prevent the union from encroaching on your management rights.
Scope of unions today
Union membership has been on a steady decline since the 1950s. The overall percentage of U.S. workers who are members of a union was 11.3% in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That contrasts to 20.1% in 1983 and is the lowest level since 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted.
The union membership rate runs much higher for public-sector workers (35.3% in 2013) than in the private sector (6.7%). Teachers, other educators, police officers and firefighters had the highest unionization rate, at 35.3%. Sales and related occupations (2.9%) and farming, fishing and forestry (2.1%) had the lowest rates.
Look for labor to continue targeting transportation, construction, manufacturing and service businesses. Plus, unions will push the NLRB to support a “single site” organizing rule, which gives unions an advantage in organizing multiple locations of small businesses.