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NLRB’s ‘Fired Workers’ Only Tip of the Iceberg

Employer-Dominated Labor Law System Conceals Reality of Workers Fired for Union Activity

Every day men and women join unions in this country to improve their jobs and economic livelihood. Unfortunately, clever employers often interfere with their workers’ support for a union. As a result, anti-union employers fire pro-union workers in 34% of organizing campaigns.*

Adding insult to injury, fired workers discover incredible obstacles in attempts to reclaim their jobs due to a weak labor law system that favors employers. The workers who end up with an official ruling in their favor from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) represent only the tip of the iceberg of the thousands of workers fired each year for supporting a union. Rather than navigate a long and difficult process, too many fired workers end their pursuit of justice, however minimal, from the NLRB.

NLRB's Fired Workers Only Tip of the Iceberg

Solution: The Employee Free Choice Act

In light of these problems, reform of our obsolete labor laws must be taken by Congress. The Employee Free Choice Act will provide relief and help prevent illegal firings from taking place.

The Employee Free Choice Act will:

  • Toughen penalties on employers who violate the law.
  • Require the NLRB to seek injunctive relief when it has reasonable cause, allowing fired employees to return to work without unjust delay.

Based on American Rights at Work’s review of the NLRB’s Case Activity Tracking System database, June 2008.

* "No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing," Kate Bronfenbrenner, American Rights at Work and Economic Policy Institute, 2009.

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American Rights at Work obtained the data for all the unfair labor practice cases which the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) closed between 1999 and 2007. We ran descriptive statistics on the data in order to obtain counts for groups of workers. This includes those who do not make it to the end of the process and the offer of reinstatement, and notably those who enter into a monetary or non-monetary settlement with their employer, either before or after the NLRB has issued them an “eligible for reinstatement” flag.


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