The ambush election rules implemented on April 14, 2015, provide an increased advantage to unions attempting to organize workers by dramatically reducing the number of days between when a petition for a union election is filed and when the election is held. This advantage makes it critical for employers to know which industries have been the most vulnerable to unions using these rules to win elections.
One industry that remains a key target for union campaigns is healthcare workers. Unions are targeting employees such as nurses, nursing home workers, and physical therapists, and in some cases, have even organized doctors. Healthcare workers are an ideal target as they have higher wages and richer benefits, which means more profits to unions. Additionally, the healthcare industry has been strong, and with an aging population in the U.S., is forecasted to keep expanding, which provides some assurance to unions that they will remain relevant over time.
Unions are also targeting new industries, particularly those with white-collar workers. Recently the adjunct faculty members at colleges and universities, journalists, paralegals, secretaries, insurance agents, and even some judges, have voted to unionize. With the United States workforce continuing to move towards more white-collar jobs and off-shoring traditional blue-collar union jobs, companies should expect unions to continue their focus on white-collar workers.
Whether in healthcare or one of the white-collar occupations listed above, the rules have changed. These industries have employees who are computer literate and likely know of the advantage ambush elections have given them if they decide to unionize. Now, more than ever before, a proactive and robust union avoidance program is imperative to remaining union free.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.