A new study by a Cornell University professor of 1,004 union organizing drives has found that employers threatened to close plants in 57 percent of the campaigns and threatened to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent.
The study, to be released Wednesday, also found that employers fired pro-union workers in 34 percent of the campaigns. And it asserted that management’s antiunion tactics had helped pushed down the unionization rate to 12.4 percent, from 22 percent three decades ago.
She said her study was based on a random sample of 1,004 unionization elections from early 1999 to late 2003 and relied on a review of National Labor Relations Board cases and documents, as well as surveys of 562 lead union organizers.
In 63 percent of the elections, the study found, supervisors used one-on-one meetings to interrogate workers about whether they or co-workers supported a union. (It is illegal under federal law to interrogate workers about such matters.)
In 54 percent, she found, supervisors used the meetings to threaten workers.
Her study found that employers used 10 or more types of antiunion tactics in 49 percent of unionization drives, up from the 26 percent she found in a similar study 12 years ago.
Professor B. has received funding from unions and other pro-labor groups. The anti-union folks are questioning her findings. I have not assessed the validity of the study.