Testimony at Government Hearings

No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing

Kate Bronfenbrenner, Cornell University ILR School


This study provides a comprehensive independent anlaysis fo employer behavior in union representation elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Using survey data as well as actual NLRB documents from a random sample of 2000 NLRB election campaigns which took place between 1999-2003 Bronfenbrenner finds it is standard practice for workers to be subjected by corporations to threats, interrogation, harassment, surveillance and retaliation for union activity.

Even when workers succeeded in forming a union, 52 percent are still without a contract a year after the election and 37 percent two years later. The failure of the current syste to defend workers' rights in a timely manner multiplies the obstacles workers face when seeking representation adding further delays that favor employers over workers. Bronfenbrenner finds that employers appeal a high percentage of the cases and in the most egregious cases the employee can count on the final decision being delayed by three to five years, with the heaviest penalty likely to be back pay minus the workers wages.

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