Bust the Union Busters

  Union Busting: A multi-million dollar industry to take away your rights

Over 60 million workers would join a union today if given the chance. However, despite their overwhelming will, most of those workers will not get the chance to vote for a union, even fewer will be successful in forming a union, and fewer still will be successful in earning a first contract. The propensity for workers to improve their workplace through organizing for better wages and benefits has created a shadow industry that charitably calls itself "union avoidance," but is more accurately referred to as union busting.

Companies whose workers are organizing to gain union representation will pay tens of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars to law or consulting firms in order to defeat organizing drives rather than allocating that money towards quality wages and benefits for their employees. The disdain for unionization is so strong that oftentimes employers will spend more money on "union avoidance" than the employees are asking for in their contract demands.

While employers have always resisted efforts to organize, union-busting firms did not become prominent until the 1970's. There are now thousands of these firms across the country, and their rise has a direct correlation with the decline in union density from 29% of U.S. workers in 1964 to 13% today.

During an organizing campaign, 82% of employers will hire a union busting firm, and their strategies are generally similar. Consultants encourage employers to unfairly exert their power by holding captive audience meetings, forcing employees into one-on-one meetings with supervisors, and systematically undermining the law by firing or suspending union supporters.  The ability for consultants and employers to break the law without repercussions, and to use fear and coercion to discourage employees from voting for a union is a major reason why we desperately need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Please see below for resources on the union busting industry. The best way to fight the influence of union-busting firms in an organizing campaign is to understand how they operate, and inoculate employees about the lies and propaganda that will likely be spread about the union.

Watch the series of videos on the right side of this page where former union buster Martin Levitt describes the tactics used to thwart organizing campaigns. Levitt also detailed his years of union busting in his book, Confessions of a Union Buster, and now works as a consultant for unions to counter union busters.

Read a post on the "union avoidance" industry from the AFL-CIO blog.

Read Unionbusting Confidential, an article by a labor-friendly reporter who infiltrated a union avoidance seminar held by the notorious union busting law firm Jackson-Lewis.

American Rights at Work tracks and exposes the work of anti-union forces in the United States through it's Anti-Union Network.

Find other resources on the union avoidance industry at www.nobusters.org.