Trendspotting: 2024 Labor Activity On The Rise

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Labor Relations Ink, Labor Relations Insight, Legal, NLRB, Trending

Let’s examine the current labor trends for 2024 as reported by the NLRB and from our own labor databases. The NLRB’s recent statistics release paints a picture of a changing and challenging labor environment. Labor activity is on the rise.

NLRB Trend Report for 1st Half Fiscal Year 2024

Unprecedented Increase in Union Petitions and Unfair Labor Practices

The NLRB’s field offices have experienced a significant surge in activity, with union election petitions skyrocketing by 35% compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2023. This translates to a staggering 1,618 petitions filed, a stark increase from 1,199. The breakdown is particularly revealing, with 1,137 RC petitions initiated by employees and 281 RM petitions by employers, indicating a significant rise in the latter following the Board’s influential Cemex decision.

Simultaneously, unfair labor practice (ULP) charges have increased by 7% to 10,278 cases. Combined with union petitions, the NLRB received 11,896 cases in just half a year, underscoring a 10% rise over the previous year.

A Closer Look at the Trends

This spike in filings doesn’t exist in a vacuum. These trends have continued in recent years, with fiscal year 2023 seeing a 10% increase in ULP charges and a 3% rise in election petitions. Fiscal Year 2022 was even more dramatic, witnessing a 53% jump in union petitions and a 19% increase in ULP charges compared to 2021.

The Cemex Decision’s Ripple Effects

The Cemex decision had a profound impact, especially in the increase of RM petitions filed by employers. This decision has prompted more employers to seek clarity or challenge unionization efforts, marking a significant shift in the dynamics of labor relations.

LRI Rightnow Trends Summary Q1 2024

LRI Rightnow just released its newly updated 2024 Q1 Petitions and Elections Review, which includes some interesting data for 2024 so far.

Representation Elections See a Significant Uptick

The NLRB certified 391 representation (RC) elections in the first quarter, marking a substantial 25% increase compared to the same period in 2023. This rise signifies a growing momentum in unionization efforts, with unions winning a remarkable 80.6% of these elections. This success translated into the organization of 20,814 workers, reflecting a robust push towards collective bargaining and workers’ rights advocacy.

A Dip in Decertification Elections

Contrasting with the surge in representation elections, decertification (RD) elections saw a 25% decrease, with only 27 elections certified. Unions faced a 77.8% loss rate in these elections, a significant downturn from the 61.1% loss rate in 2023, leading to 735 workers exiting union representation. This shift may indicate a complex landscape of worker satisfaction with union representation or strategic employer interventions.

Employer-Filed Elections Surge Dramatically

Employer-filed (RM) elections experienced an unprecedented increase, with a 4500% surge compared to the previous year, resulting in 46 elections certified. In a remarkable turnaround from 2023, where unions won none of these elections, they secured victories in 56.5% of cases in the first quarter of 2024, organizing 755 workers.

Regional and State-Level Dynamics

The activity across NLRB regions varied, with Region 19 leading in RC election certifications. Region 31 showcased a 100% union success rate, the highest among regions with significant election activity, while Region 12 lagged with the lowest success rate at 64%. On a state level, California emerged as the most active, hosting 44 RC elections. Massachusetts boasted a 100% union success rate, standing out among states with considerable election activity, whereas Michigan recorded the lowest at 46%.

Industry and Unit Size Insights

The Information industry emerged as the most fertile ground for union success, with a 95%-win rate in RC elections. In contrast, the Construction industry presented more challenging conditions, with unions winning only 45% of such elections. Interestingly, voters in unit sizes ranging from 101 to 500 showed a strong preference for unionization, with a 97% success rate in RC elections, while voters in unit sizes from 101 to 500 were the least likely to vote against the union in decertification elections with a 67% union win rate.

Reflecting on the latest NLRB and LRI RightNow reports, it’s pretty clear we’re seeing a lot of labor activity. Staying informed on these developments is crucial in responding successfully should labor activity impact your company. We offer some great free resources that can help you track these trends via LRI Rightnow, including: (Login Required)

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