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For-Profit Unionbusters

What is Unionbusting?

The term unionbusting describes the planned course of action to stop workers from organizing a union or to destroy a union already in the workplace.  Unionbusters are professional consultants or lawyers that advertise their ability to manipulate the labor law system and specialize in advising employers on how to thwart union organizing drives or how to decertify unions.  Unionbusters usually self-identify as ‘union avoidance firms,’ ‘management consultants,’ or ‘labor consultants.’ Read our unionbusting fact sheet, “Unionbusters 101.”

Exposing Unionbusters

American Rights at Work helped break a major expose on unionbusting in The New York Times.  The December 2004 article revealed just what lengths an employer will go to, at the advice of a unionbuster firm, to attack workers who attempt to form unions.  This case features well-known union-avoidance firm Jackson Lewis.    Read the expose, “How Do You Drive Out a Union? South Carolina Factory Provides a Textbook Case .”

Reports on Unionbusting

The Union Avoidance Industry in the United States
Author: John Logan, London School of Economics, British Journal of Industrial Relations Journal vol. 44, no. 4, December 2006

This brief analyzes the development of "unionbusters," providing case studies of each of the main groups comprising the industry:  law firms, consultants, industry psychologists, and strike management firms. 

» Download PDF (25 pgs)

The Long, Slow Death of Workplace Democracy at the Chinese Daily News
Author: John Logan, London School of Economics, University of California-Los Angeles, 2003

Download this expose about The Burke Group, one of the largest bad actors in the anti-union consultant business, and its role in the war against workers at the Chinese Daily News.

» PDF (22 pages, 113KB)

Consultants, Lawyers and the 'Union Free' Movement in the USA Since the 1970s
by John Logan, London School of Economics, Industrial Relations Journal, vol. 33, no. 3, 2002.

Download this report summarizing unionbusting practices over the last three decades.

» PDF (18 pages, 155KB)

Articles on Unionbusting

Busting the Busters: Are union-avoidance firms the final frontier of the labor movement?
Harvard Political Review - Spring 2006

Unions' New Foe: Consultants
The Wall Street Journal - August 15, 2005

Labor unions have seen better days
The Herald (Everett, WA) - January 10, 2005

EnerSys, workers settles for $7.5M, Company suing attorneys for malpractice in helping drive out union
The Item (SC) - December 26, 2004

How Do You Drive Out a Union? South Carolina Factory Provides a Textbook Case
The New York Times - December 14, 2004

Will Labor Take the Wal-Mart Challenge?
The Nation - June 10, 2004

The Persuaders: Peter List and James Hulsizer roar into small businesses to help chase away unions
Fortune Small Business Magazine - May 2004

Employer Interference with the Right of Workers to Join Unions
Academic Literature Review (PDF: 16 pages, 4KB)
by Voice@Work, AFL-CIO - August 1999

The New Face of Union Busting
by David Bacon
December 22, 1996