(Warner Todd Huston/The Union Label) – The folks at UnionFreeAmerica.com have announced their “Most Decertified Union Award” today. Let’s have a round of applause for the Teamsters…
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is the winner of Union Free America’s 5th Annual “Most Decertified Union Award.” This honor is awarded to the labor union that lost the most decertification elections during the preceding 12 months.
The judging was based on an analysis of the reports of election results on the National Labor Relations Board’s web site for the period August 2009 through July 2010. During that time the NLRB conducted 251 decertification elections. Employees seeking to rid themselves of a union won 157 or 63 percent of them.
The Teamsters union won the “Most Decertified Union Award” by being decertified 48 times during that period. The Teamsters were involved in a total of 64 decertification elections of which they lost 75 percent.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) came in a distant second by being decertified in 9 out of 15 elections, or 60 percent.
The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) won honorable mention by being decertified 8 times. This may seem paltry compared to the Teamsters, but IUOE deserves recognition for being decertified in 8 out of 8 elections.
The Teamsters outstanding performance was not enough to helped the Change to Win federation edge out the larger AFL-CIO in the competition. AFL-CIO unions participated in 99 decertification elections and lost 69 of them while the Change to Win unions participated in a total of 101 decertification elections, but lost only 60 of them.
Colorful certificates commemorating these achievements have been sent to the Teamsters, Food and Commercial Workers and Operating Engineers unions.
Labor unions seem less and less willing to participate in elections where they don’t have as good a chance to win. Between August 2000 and July 2001, the earliest comparable period for which data is available online, the NLRB conducted 2,726 certification elections and unions won 1,445 or 53 percent of them. Between August 2009 and July 2010 the NLRB conducted only 1,502 certification elections and unions won 975 or 65 percent.
Petitioning the NLRB for an election only takes signatures of 30 percent of the workers in a unit. The decline in the number of certification elections is generally attributable to the unions inability to convince workers to vote for union representation in a secret ballot election.
Labor union officials are pressing for legislation to deny employees the right to a secret ballot vote on union representation. This bill is ironically named the “Employee Free Choice Act.” The undemocratic scheme the unions would use to replace elections is called a “card check” in which a union is certified by a bare majority of workers signing authorization cards.
There is strong evidence that signed cards are not a valid indication of employee support for unions. The AFL-CIO’s own research finds that 28 percent of employees who sign cards vote against a union when given a secret ballot. Other academic research has found that unions must get cards signed by 65 percent of workers in order to have a 50-50 chance to win a secret ballot election.
David Denholm, the founder of Union Free America, observes that, “The so-called ‘free choice act’ is a completely one sided proposal. It has no provision for allowing employees to rid themselves of unwanted unions through a card-check.”
Union Free America was founded in 2002 to provide advice and encouragement to workers fighting to stay, or become, Union Free. The “Most Decertified Union Award” was established in 2006 in response to the growing number of requests from workers for information about how they could rid themselves of unwanted union representation.