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Unions Win About Two out of Three Elections in 2013

Gerald Lutkus

Gerald F. Lutkus

Of Counsel (Retired)

The Bureau of National Affairs’ mid-year numbers are in and they continue to show that actually going to a NLRB-supervised election in the private sector tends to be a losing proposition for employers. BNA is reporting that although there were 66 fewer representation elections during the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012, unions won 65.2 percent of the 643 private sector elections held during that period in 2013. That compares with 62.6 percent of 709 elections held in the first half of last year.

However, the numbers also disclose some very interesting trends:

1. The number of decertification elections declined from 131 during the first half of 2012 to 93 in the first half of 2013.

2. Unions won only 39.8 percent of those decertification elections. That compares with 41.2 percent in 2012.

3. The Teamsters had the most elections during the first half of 2013 participating in 158 of the 643 private sector elections held.

4. The Teamsters won 61.4 percent of those elections.

5. Amazingly though, the Teamsters only organized 4,433 new workers during the first half of this year.

6. The Teamsters won 97 elections and organized 4,433 workers, meaning their average new bargaining unit size during the first half of this year was 45.7 new workers.

7. The SEIU is credited with organizing the most workers in the first half of the year – 47,786 – but that included retaining 45,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in California in an election in which the National Union of Healthcare Workers attempted to oust the SEIU. Taking out those numbers, that left the SEIU with only 2,786 newly organized workers in the first half of 2013.

8. The services sector, including healthcare, had the largest number of NLRB-conducted elections with 317. Unions won 70 percent of those elections.

9. There were 91 elections held in the state of New York; 70 elections in California; and 50 elections in Pennsylvania during the first six months of this year. Thus, 1/3 of all NLRB-conducted elections during the first six months of this year were held in those three states.

10. By contrast, unions failed to win elections during the first six months of this year in Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Each state had one scheduled election. There were no NLRB elections held during the first six months of this year in Idaho, North Dakota or Wyoming.

The statistics prepared by BNA only cover resolved NLRB elections and do not include new organizing results by unions outside the NLRB process through the use of neutrality and/or card check authorization agreements.


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