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| 1 minute read

Union Election Petitions and Labor Charges Continue Their Meteoric Rise

Since the end of 2021, we've seen a historic explosion in union election petitions and unfair labor practice (ULP) charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Based on an April NLRB report for the first six months of the agency's 2024 fiscal year, there appears to be little sign of any slowdown.

 The NLRB said in a press release about the report, “During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2024 (October 1–March 31), union election petitions filed at NLRB field offices rose 35% over the same period in Fiscal Year 2023. Notably, this is driven by a spike in employer-filed RM-petitions, after the Board’s Cemex decision, accompanied by an uptick in employee-filed RC-petitions. In total, 1,618 petitions were filed during this time, compared with 1,199 in the first half of Fiscal Year 2023. Of the recent petitions, 1,137 were RC-petitions and 281 were RM-petitions.”

Along with the uptick in election petitions, unions are winning at the ballot box at a historic clip as well. Some of this is attributable to the ongoing organizing drive at Starbucks, but certainly not all. 

In addition to the surge in union elections, ULP filings are on the rise too. The NLRB press release further notes, “At the same time, unfair labor practice (ULP) charges filed across the NLRB’s field offices have increased 7% – from 9,612 to 10,278. Accounting for union petitions and unfair labor practice charges, the NLRB received 11,896 cases in the first half of Fiscal Year 2024, up 10% over the first half of Fiscal Year 2023 when the field offices received 10,811 cases.”

The NLRB's report goes on to say the agency – like any employer across the private and public sectors – is suffering a staffing shortage, as well as funding challenges from Congress.

In addition to Starbucks, other big name companies who historically have not had unionized workforces – like Trader Joe's and REI – also have had unions certified among their ranks in the last year or two. This, combined with other perceived high-profile labor “wins” – such as the United Auto Workers strikes at the Big 3 last summer – may help this momentum continue. We'll see how this all plays out. Stay tuned.  





labor and employment