Salting during Union Organizing Drive Continues to Make a Comeback

After eight years of a very pro-union president and the most pro-labor National Labor Relations Board since the Roosevelt Administration, union membership in the United States is at an all-time low. To make matters worse for unions, in 2016, 43% of union households voted for Donald Trump despite labor leaders funneling tens of millions of their dues dollars to groups supporting Hillary Clinton.

In mid-December I discussed the success that the IBEW had with salting Aerotek. This was not a one-off event. Unions everywhere have vowed for a renewed push to do what was once commonplace: to salt non-union workplaces in an effort to rebuild union ranks. Salting is when unions plant an unofficial union organizer into a non-union company with the express purpose of unionizing the company from within. As the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) explains:

Salting is a union organizing tactic whereby the union pays an individual to apply for a job within a targeted company and, once the job is obtained, to begin union organizing efforts. Salts – the term used for such individuals – may be overtly direct about their intentions or may use more subtle techniques. A salt’s role I to gather information as a company insider and use it in the union organizing campaign.

Salting is perfectly legal, so employers needs to learn the different way unions salt, when to recognize its being done to their company, and ways to defend themselves against it.

Matt Austin who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at