U.S. employers spend $340 million annually to thwart unions | Salon.com
After years of decline, the American labor movement is on the upswing: Google contractors in Pittsburgh unionized this year, along with several newsrooms, while other tech companies are in the middle of union struggles. Still, unions have a lot of ground to retake, as union membership among American workers has fallen by about 50 percent over the past 35 years; membership peaked in 1954. Unions are, in general, extremely good for the economy: union workers are paid better, treated better, and retire better. So why the fall? According to new research by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), America’s decline of unions is likely in part due to the hefty investments employers have put into thwarting unionization efforts, which is fueled by a shadow industry that even the federal government has little information about.
The EPI report, which was published on Wednesday, found that American employers spend an estimated $340 million annually on “union avoidance” consultants and firms to help them stave off union elections. Consultants often report being paid $350 per hour, or more. Some even clock in $2,500 daily rates.