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Union Facts

Commonly Misused Statistics

Myth: 31,000 people were fired for trying to start a union in 2005.

Fact: The only hard analysis of National Labor Relations Board data found that only 2 percent of elections involve employees being wrongfully terminated.

Explanation: The 31,000 number is a favorite of activists and politicians. It is a simple aggregate of all people who received back pay during a given year (from employers and unions alike) for participating in all union activities. While an unknown portion of this may include organizing, it also includes many other more frequent cases of back pay.

Myth: There have been only 42 cases of union officials harassing employees.

Fact: There have been thousands of alleged unfair labor practices committed by union officials since the late 1990’s.

Explanation: This number derives from an HR Policy Association survey, which was by no means comprehensive. Instead, the Center for Union Facts analyzed the NLRB’s all-encompassing CATS database and found unions had been charged with 1,417 allegations of coercive statements, 1,325 allegations of threatening statements, 546 allegations of harassment, and 416 allegations of “violence/assaults.” While these numbers represent allegations, they clearly rebut the notion that union officials are rarely accused of harassment or intimidation.