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Employer Opposition in the US: Anti-Union Campaigning from the 1950s

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Abstract

Employer opposition to unionisation and collective bargaining in the US is almost certainly stronger and more sophisticated than in any other advanced democratic country (Kochan 2003). Since the 1970s, American employers have waged what Business Week (22 May 1994) has called ‘one of the most successful anti-union wars ever’ with spectacular results — private-sector union density now stands at just 6.9% of the workforce, its lowest level for almost a century. Aggressive employer opposition — facilitated by weak legal protection for labour rights and assisted by internal and external union avoidance experts — is the single major cause of the ‘slow strangulation of private-sector unionism’ (Freeman and Medoff 1984: 211). As long as that opposition continues unchecked — that is, in the absence of comprehensive labour law reform — the future for organised labour in the US seems very bleak. This chapter analyses the evolution of employer opposition in the US over the past decades and examines the techniques employers have used to resist unionisation, by focusing on three key issues: First, analysing the evolution of employers’ use of external union avoidance consultants and law firms from the 1950s to the present. Second, examining the growing use of internal union avoidance specialists by large non-union employers; and finally, discussing the impact of employer opposition, especially that coordinated by internal and external union avoidance experts, upon the outcome of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) union certification elections over the past two decades.

Keywords

  • National Labor Relation Board
  • Bargaining Unit
  • National Labor Relation
  • Unfair Labour Practice
  • Union Avoidance

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137319067_2
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© 2013 John Logan

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Logan, J. (2013). Employer Opposition in the US: Anti-Union Campaigning from the 1950s. In: Gall, G., Dundon, T. (eds) Global Anti-Unionism. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137319067_2

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