Workforce Fairness Institute

Who Is Big Labor’s Advocate On Quickie / Ambush Elections?

Kate Bronfenbrenner To Testify On Quickie / Ambush Elections:

Bronfenbrenner To Testify Before National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) On Quickie / Ambush Elections. (Website, National Labor Relations Board, Accessed 7/18/11)

Bronfenbrenner Background:

Bronfenbrenner Is The Director Of Labor Education Research And A Senior Lecturer At Cornell University’s School Of Industrial And Labor Relations. (Website, Cornell University ILR School, Accessed 7/18/11)

Bronfenbrenner  Worked As A Union Organizer For The United Woodcutters Association & Union Field Representative For SEIU:

“Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 1993, Bronfenbrenner was an Assistant Professor in Labor Studies at Penn State University and worked for many years as an organizer and union representative with the United Woodcutters Association in Mississippi and with SEIU in Boston, as well as a welfare rights organizer in Seattle, Washington.” (Website, Cornell University ILR School, Accessed 7/18/11)

Bronfenbrenner Believes NLRB Case Against Boeing Is Justified:
“Business, politicians and the media have made much over the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against Boeing, but the outrage has been misdirected.  The board was right to bring the complaint, because the law is on its side, and such complaints are a step in the right direction … The labor board has a clear mission: to consider whether Boeing’s production shift is retaliation for union activity.  On that, Boeing is clearly in the wrong.  But the board has also touched the third rail in labor law: management rights to open, close and move operations free from interference, even when the purpose of doing so is to avoid unionization.” (Kate Brofenbrenner, “A Good Case Against Boeing,” The Washington Post, 6/22/11)

Brofenbrenner Published Study Alleging That “Coercive And Punitive Climate For Organizing” Would Undermine An Employees Free Choice When Choosing A Union:

“One of the most recent studies – one repeatedly cited by organized labor to support proposed labor reforms – is titled No Holds Barred – The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing by Kate Bronfenbrenner, a former union organizer and now Director of Labor Education Research for the Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations.  No Holds Barred alleges that a ‘coercive and punitive climate for organizing’ undermines employee free choice in choosing union representation and necessarily dictates a ‘serious’ labor law reform.” (Website, “Responding To Union Rhetoric: The Reality Of The American Workplace,” U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Accessed 7/18/11)

Brofenbrenner’s Conclusions Are Based Off Studies She Authored Herself:

“Bronfenbrenner bases many of her conclusions on a 2001 study that she herself authored titled Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages, and Union Organizing that focuses on the purported impact of alleged employer threats of plant closure on union elections and first contract bargaining.  These conclusions are then repeated in an Issue Brief published by the AFL-CIO titled The Silent War: The Assault on Workers’ Freedom to Choose a Union and Bargaining Collectively in the United States as well as a 2006 book by Richard B. Freeman and Joel Rogers titled What Workers Want.” (Website, “Responding To Union Rhetoric: The Reality Of The American Workplace,” U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Accessed 7/18/11)

Brofenbrenner’s Most Frequently Cited Studies Have Credibility Issues:

“As noted above, one of the most frequently cited studies is the briefing paper No Holds Barred authored by Kate Bronfenbrenner for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) … Although No Holds Barred claims to be a ‘comprehensive analysis’ based on ‘unique and highly credible information,’ the methodologies and analytical framework of Bronfenbrenner’s piece reflect the biased and result-oriented nature of many of these purportedly academic studies.  At the outset, however, the credibility and integrity of the Bronfenbrenner study is questionable because it was co-sponsored by the EPI and American Rights at Work (ARW) – both of which are pro-union institutions that have substantial interest in the study concluding that employer opposition to union organizing justifies far-reaching labor-law reforms.” (Website, “Responding To Union Rhetoric: The Reality Of The American Workplace,” U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Accessed 7/18/11)

Brofenbrenner’s Own Data Collection Methods Are Questionable:

“Indeed, even Bronfenbrenner’s data collection methodology is highly questionable.  For example, the primary source of the anecdotal ‘evidence’ Bronfenbrenner used to support her conclusions comes from ‘in depth surveys with the lead organizers’ involved in the organizing campaigns included in the ‘NLRB election sample’ of approximately 1000 NLRB elections conducted between 1999 and 2003.  Using the lead union organizers involved in these campaigns can hardly be considered unbiased sources.  To the contrary, the lead organizers would have every incentive to exaggerate and falsify the data provided to Bronfenbrenner in order to either provide excuses for their failure to win the underlying election or to promote the goals of organized labor to secure labor law reforms designed to make organizing easier.  Yet, Bronfenbrenner fails to even consider the possible bias of lead union organizers as a primary source.” (Website, “Responding To Union Rhetoric: The Reality Of The American Workplace,” U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Accessed 7/18/11)

“Apparently recognizing the inadequacy of her data collection methods, Bronfenbrenner attempts to justify her failure to use more accurate data by claiming that obtaining the actual data from the employees purportedly subject to the coercive and threatening behavior by employers would be too difficult and expensive to obtain.  Therefore, Bronfenbrenner chooses to base her conclusions on unidentified studies of ‘individual voters’ who in turn speculate about how they think employers might react to organizing.” (Website, “Responding To Union Rhetoric: The Reality Of The American Workplace,” U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, Accessed 7/18/11)

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