While commentators debate whether or not the economy is in a recession, one area where business is booming is at the National Labor Relations Board, which recently announced a significant increase in case filings for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022 (FY 2022).
The headline number is a 53% increase in union representation petition filings year over year — 2,510 union representation petitions were filed in FY 2022 compared to 1,638 petitions in FY 2021. While the surge in petitions filed against Starbucks accounts for some of the increase, the data suggest that employers across a range of industries are facing increased union organizing. Indeed, the number of petitions filed last year is the most since FY 2016.
Moreover, the number of unfair labor practice charges filed with the NLRB increased 19%, from 15,082 charges in FY 2021 to 17,988 charges in FY 2022. Overall, the year over year increase in petitions and unfair labor practice charge filings combined is 23% — the largest such increase since FY 1976.
While NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo undoubtedly is pleased with the “historic surge” in filings at her agency, this is no cause for celebration in the business community, given that the vast majority of charges filed are against employers. Moreover, since unions are winning approximately two out of three representation elections conducted by the Board, the huge increase in election petition filings means that unions are succeeding in organizing an increasing number of nonunion workplaces. Nonunion employers everywhere should take note.