A new National Labor Relations Board regulation that expedites elections for union representation will likely lead to dramatically higher rates of unionization, a new study has found.
A majority of workplace union elections are decided by five or fewer votes, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. What’s more, “cutting the time between a request for an election and the ballot increases the chances union supporters will prevail,” according to the study. “Unions win 87 percent of elections held 11 to 15 days after a request, a rate that falls to 58 percent when the vote takes place after 36 to 40 days, according to the researchers.”
The 11 to 15 day timeframe is very close to what the new NLRB rule is expected to achieve. According to Heritage labor policy expert James Sherk, the “snap elections” rule will trim the time between an election request and the election itself to 10 to 21 days, a significant drop from the current average of 31 days.
“If a broader set of elections were to occur more quickly,” wrote Bloomberg analysts Jason Arvelo and Ian Hathaway, “the likely outcome would be more organizing drives, a higher success rate for unions and ultimately more union membership.”
Unions often plan organizing drives before they actually request a workplace election, while employers, who may not be aware of the effort, are forced to make their case only during the period between an election request and the actual election. Hence, shortening that period of time is more prohibitive to an employer’s ability to make the case against unionization than a union’s ability to lobby for it.
As Sherk explained:
Some organizers rely on aggressive sales tactics, such as “SPIN selling.” In SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff) selling, organizers lead employees through the four emotional states to persuade them that a union will solve their problems at work—whether or not a union could actually help—and to secure a signed union-authorization card. Unions also train organizers to avoid the potential downsides to unionization, such as strikes and dues increases.
Employees will hear the other side of the story only from management. Employers, not union organizers, will explain that unions often do not achieve their promised wage increases, but they always take up to 2 percent of workers’ wages in dues. Employers will also point out patterns of union corruption and clauses in union constitutions that levy stiff fines against workers who stray from union rules. Employers are free to tell workers what the union organizers do not.
Workers deserve to hear from both sides and have time for reflection. They should have the right to consider whether union representation will truly benefit them. The government should not push workers into unions, much less deny them the time to consider the downsides. The NLRB’s proposed rule undermines employees’ ability to make an informed choice.