Joe CrumpFollow


[Excerpt] Ask the typical union organizer to define success and he or she will probably say, "Winning elections." Many labor organizations, including ours, have found out that winning a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election does not mean that the workers involved are going to receive the benefits of a union contract. One third of representation elections won by unions do not result in a collective bargaining agreement.

In fact, just winning an NLRB election is a tough proposition. In 1990 the union win rate was only 47.6%. Even more alarming is the drop in the number of elections held in 1990 — 3,423, the lowest since 1984. In the 1960s and '70s, there were twice this number of elections each year. This trend is truly alarming when you consider that at the end of 1990 unions represented only 16.1% of the nation's workforce — quite a drop from 35% of workers with a union contract in the mid-1950s. What can the labor movement do to reverse the trend of fewer and fewer workers being represented by unions?