Making Big Money Busting Unions

When a big company wants to get rid of a union or prevent one from organizing, they don’t often do it by themselves.  They hire a specialist.  Law firms and consulting firms that earn fancy fees for skirting around the weak labor laws are readily available and they’ve been doing a great job at union busting.  In large measure, they have been instrumental in the decline of labor unions over the past several decades.  Aided by weak requirements for federal reporting, data on this service is spotty but researchers at Cornell University estimate that some 75 percent of US employers are paying in the neighborhood of $340 million annually for their services.

Three of the biggest law firms that do this work are Littler Mendelson, Ogletree Deakins and Jackson Lewis.  Consultants such as IRI Consultants and the Labor Relations Institute are also very skilled at union avoidance.  IRI even used to offer a “money-back guarantee” if its efforts were unsuccessful.

IKEA, the furniture manufacturer, hired Ogletree Deakins to help it crush unionization efforts in Stoughton, Massachusetts, in 2016.  Google hired IRI Consultants, to deal with attempts to organize its work force.

The pockets of these firms are jingling from the work they do in keeping workers from organizing for better pay and working conditions

The Conversation (8/24/20)