Notes on Labor Data by Forest Gregg
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Introduction to Notes on Labor Data

November 24, 2022

Hello, my name is Forest Gregg.

I’ve experimenting with how information technology can be of service to a more just, democratic, and joyful society for over a decade.

Mainly, I’ve done this as DataMade, where I am a partner. DataMade is a data and web consultancy for civil society. We support our partners in working toward democracy, justice, and equity. Our clients are mainly in journalism, non-profits, and local government.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been very lucky to work with more people in the labor movement. We’ve helped extract (or tried to help extract) data from LM10s for academic researchers. We’ve also worked with researchers at a large international union to gather data on the anti-consumer pricing strategies of a target industry.

Outside of those professional engagements, I’ve worked with an union local in Chicago to develop indicators to help prioritize work sites for organizing efforts.

Perhaps of greatest interest for this venue, I’ve been building a publicly accessible data warehouse of public records related to the labor movement:

Using NLRB data as an example, I have written a web scraper that fetches information about NLRB cases and election results from the NLRB website. This scraper runs nightly, and the data gets formatted into a set of normalized relational database tables. Users can query the dataset on the website, download the full NRLB database, or download individual tables as CSV files.

I have similar scrapers running nightly for

In addition to the scrapers, at the end every quarter I file a public records request with the NLRB for notifications of voluntary recognitions that the Board has received in that quarter. These are also added to the data warehouse.

Finally, the warehouse includes some dataset that are not updated, but very useful:

All these data are instantly available, and the underlying scraper and code to transform the data are open source and publicly available on GitHub.

It is my hope that this effort will make using public records on labor data much easier, and I have been gratified to see that it has already been used by a number of researchers and union activists.

I’m planning on continuing to improve this resource by adding additional data sources and by creating crosswalks to link the unions and firms within and across these datasets.

In this blog and newsletter, I’ll be posting updates on updates and changes to the data and analyses of those data.

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