Big Labor Victories Likely to Lead to More Organizing in 2024

After big deals were reached in 2023 by the United Auto Workers (UAW) with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, and the Teamsters with UPS, big labor is likely to proceed with more labor organizing efforts in 2024. Kaiser Permanente employees also successfully unionized, which could lead to the unionization of other healthcare workers. Currently, the Teamsters are looking to organize nonunion logistics companies and Amazon, while the UAW is focused on Tesla and foreign car manufacturers with U.S. factories. 

Nonetheless, organized labor still faces significant challenges. The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) still makes successful union organizing exceedingly difficult. Although the UAW obtained a huge victory, it still did not reach the level of pay increases that it originally sought. At least according to Phillip Wilson, president and legal counsel of the National Labor Relations Institute, unions are not the sole driving force beyond private companies offering record wages to employees. Although unions are putting some pressure on companies to offer better wages, labor market pressures in all industries likely have more impact than unions. Not enough unions exist to exert sufficient pressure to change wage trends. 

However, although union density has decreased in recent years, union membership has increased. Unions raise costs for companies because they negotiate pay increases, but also because negotiations on all conditions of employment take more time than companies implementing changes on their own. Even if unions don’t always get all the changes they seek, they are responsible for many changes in employment conditions that impact both unionized and nonunionized employees nationwide, such as eight-hour workdays and five-day workweeks. Many safety rules in the workplace also came about due to union organization and negotiations. 

As employees may increasingly encounter pressure to organize in the future, HR professionals must avoid committing unfair labor practices. Still, HR personnel can honestly state that they would rather deal with each employee’s problems and concerns individually rather than collectively through a union. Furthermore, the potential rise of unionization should caution employers to take their employees’ concerns seriously and consider them in making decisions that affect the terms and conditions of employment. 

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

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