Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Big Labor Tries Another Lobbying Gambit to Rebuild Waning Strength

The New York Times today covered another attempt by union officials to stave off declining membership. They’re asking the National Labor Relations Board to re-institute a long-since-dead practice that requires employers to bargain with a group of employees — even if that group doesn’t represent a majority of employees.

Most interesting is this point, which comes straight out of the playbook of electing pliant pols to do what union bosses can’t — rebuild membership:

Union officials acknowledged that the labor board, currently dominated by appointees of President Bush, would probably not adopt a rule so favorable to unions. But union officials said they were petitioning now in the hope that there will be a Democratic president someday who will appoint a board that will look favorably upon their argument.

Not surprisingly, the “good ol’ days” argument is cited by the Steelworkers and the United Auto Workers — their record speaks for itself.

The practice, by the way, is known as “minority unionism.” Given their ever-shrinking slice of the private sector, I’d say it’s pretty much all minority unionism at this point. Guess we’ll see if they can lobby their way back to power.

UPDATE: Carter Wood at NAM takes an interesting angle: that the “majority support” union bosses love to highlight for card check would be done away with in minority unionism.