Pro-Union Workers Fired in Over One-fourth of Union Election Campaigns

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115

Pro-Union Workers Fired in Over One-fourth of Union Election Campaigns

WASHINGTON - More
than one-fourth of all union-representation elections in the 2000s have
been marred by an illegal firing of a pro-union worker, according to a
new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). 

The paper, "Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns, 1951-2007,"
by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, uses a research methodology
originally published in the Harvard Law Review and the University of
Chicago Law Review and finds a significant increase in the current
decade in the share of union-representation elections where workers
have been fired for supporting the creation of a union. 

"Aggressive actions by employers -- often including illegal firings --
have significantly undermined the ability of U.S. workers to unionize
their workplaces," said John Schmitt,
CEPR senior economist and lead author of the report. "The financial
penalties for illegal actions, including firing pro-union workers, are
minimal, so it makes perfect sense for employers to break the law to
derail union-organizing efforts."

The study finds
that pro-union workers were fired in 26 percent of union election
campaigns over the period 2001-2007  (most recent available data). The
26 percent rate is up from about 16 percent in the last half of the
1990s. The share of elections in 2001-2007 with an illegal firing was
almost as high as the historical peak for such activity --31 percent
during the period 1981-1985.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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