By Susan Connelly of PTI Labor Research, Guest Blogger*

PTI Labor Research analyzed union representation petitions that were filed within the first half of the year.  

States with the most petitions filed (pdf) included:  New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Each of these top five states are “Non-Right to Work,” where it is legal to negotiate a union security clause that requires employees to pay the union fees in order to retain their jobs.

Maps of the 1,069 representation petitions (pdf) and the 244 decertification petitions (pdf) that were filed within the first half of the year highlight a definite lack of petitions within the “Right to Work States” of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Industries with the most union active organizing (pdf) included:  Business Services (janitorial, security, etc.), Health Care, Local and Suburban Transit, Electric, Gas and Sanitary Services, and Motor Freight Transportation and Warehousing.  This keeps with the overall decades-long trend of unions moving away from traditional manufacturing and towards service sector jobs. 

The unions that most often filed organizing petitions to represent employees (pdf) were:  the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, the International Operating Engineers Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Though most unions will file petitions in most industries, the SEIU is very active within Health Care specifically, the UFCW within entry level service jobs, the Teamsters within Trucking and Warehousing and the IUOE and IBEW within skilled maintenance, engineering or electrical job units. 

The number of petitions filed (pdf) has held relatively steady for past five years, but is down from what we saw a decade ago.  

Though much attention has been on “micro-units” this year, there have been a few notable elections in 2014 with large voting groups.  In a surprising upset, nurses at Sutter Valley Hospitals’ Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, California voted against representation by the California Nurses Association union on May 27th with a vote count of 462 “No” votes to 352 “Yes” votes.  In addition, though employees rejected the United Steelworkers union in February of this year at Novelis Corporation in Scriba, NY, the case is currently under review due to allegations of company violations. 

With the Board currently reviewing a number of cases after the Noel Canning decision, we shall see if expedited election rules come into play before the year’s end and, if so, we could anticipate a spike in union petition filings. 

Though union organizing in the fast food industry was a hot topic in the first half of the year, few petitions have been filed within the industry.  With the amount of organizing dollars being spent for fast food workers, we can also anticipate more petitions for this group.

* Ms. Connelly is not an attorney.  Neither she nor her firm is affiliated with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP.  The opinions and views expressed in this post are her own and not intended to convey legal advice.