Showing posts with label union membership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label union membership. Show all posts

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Federal judge strikes down part of Georgia’s right-to-work law

Unions in Georgia are declaring victory after Senior United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley struck down part of Georgia’s right-to-work statute as contrary to the National Labor Relations Act.

Specifically, the judge granted a summary judgment in favor of Georgia State AFL-CIO Truck Drivers & Helpers Local No. 728, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1996, which had challenged the state law that allowed employees to revoke their union membership at any time.

The judge struck down sections 3(d), 4, and 5 of Georgia’s right-to-work statute (Act No. 192 of the Georgia 2013 Session Laws, O.C.G.A. §§ 34-6-21, 34-6-25, and 34-6-26) as unenforceable because it conflicted with the NLRA.

The labor organizations asserted the right to engage in the collective bargaining process without state interference as well as the ability to enter into temporarily irrevocable checkoff authorization agreements pursuant to an enumerated exception in federal law.

According to the National Labor Relations Board web site,

“The NLRA allows employers and unions to enter into union-security agreements, which require all employees in a bargaining unit to become union members and begin paying union dues and fees within 30 days of being hired.

Even under a security agreement, employees who object to full union membership may continue as 'core' members and pay only that share of dues used directly for representation, such as collective bargaining and contract administration. Known as objectors, they are no longer full members but are still protected by the union contract. Unions are obligated to tell all covered employees about this option, which was created by a Supreme Court ruling and is known as the Beck right.

An employee may object to union membership on religious grounds, but in that case, must pay an amount equal to dues to a nonreligious charitable organization.

24 states have banned union-security agreements by passing so-called "right to work" laws. In these states, it is up to each employee at a workplace to decide whether or not to join the union and pay dues, even though all workers are protected by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union.”

Even in those circumstances, Judge O’Kelley found that union members in Georgia could not arbitrarily stop paying union dues at will.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Union membership declines in Georgia in 2015

Georgia lost 8,000 union members in 2015, even as the state gained wage and salary workers, according to data recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2015, the number of wage and salary workers in Georgia grew from 3,926,000 to 4,016,000 while union membership dropped from 170,000 to 162,000. As a result, the percentage of union members in Georgia’s workforce fell from 4.3 percent in 2014 to 4.0 percent in 2015.

Percentage of wage and salary workers in Georgia 
belonging to unions, 2000 to 2015
Georgia recorded the fourth lowest union membership percentage among the 50 states in 2015.

States with the lowest percentage of
wage and salary workers belonging to unions in 2015

2014
2015
South Carolina
2.2
2.1
North Carolina
1.9
3.0
Utah
3.7
3.9
Georgia
4.3
4.0
Texas
4.8
4.5

In 2000, the union membership rate in Georgia was 6.5 percent, and there were 237,000 union members.

For the nation, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions--was 11.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from 2014. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.8 million in 2015, was little different from 2014. In 2000, the union membership rate was 13.4 percent, and there were 16.3 million union workers.

Looking at nearby states, both Alabama and South Carolina posted declines in the percentage of union members. Alabama’s percentage of union members shrank from 10.8 in 2014 to 10.2 in 2015. South Carolina’s percentage fell slightly from 2.2 to 2.1 percent.

The story was different in Florida where, in contrast to Georgia, the percentage of wage and salary workers belonging to unions in Florida grew by 91,000 over the year even while total wage and salary employment decreased by 48,000. As a result, the percentage of union members rose from 5.7 percent in 2014 to 6.8 percent in 2015.

Data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation's civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence. The state data preserve the long-time practice of highlighting the direction of the movements in state union membership rates and levels regardless of their statistical significance.