Notes on Labor Data by Forest Gregg
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2022 Voluntary Recognitions

February 07, 2023

Just got my FOIA back for the voluntary recognitions known to the NLRB for the fourth quarter of 2022, so here’s what we can say about voluntary recognitions in 2022.

In 2022, there were 209 voluntary recognitions known to the NLRB covering at least 11,182 workers. The caveat of “known to the NLRB” is important because there is no requirement that voluntary recognitions be reported to the NLRB, and we have no idea about what proportion of voluntary recognitions are ever reported to the NLRB.

That said, in 2022, there were about 1,100 NLRB certifications that resulted in certified bargaining representative covering over 55,000 workers.

Understanding organizing activity outside the NLRB process remains a priority.

The future of this NLRB data is not certain as the NLRB is considering returning to the previous voluntary recognition bar rule, which prevents the filing of representation election petition within six months of a voluntary recognition. In 2020, Trump’s NLRB modified the rule to require a notice to the NLRB for the rule to take effect along with a 45-day period after the receipt of notice when a petition could be filed. The notification requirements is what has produced these records, and it’s likely when the requirement is rescinded, the data will cease.


With the assistance of JP Ferguson, we’ve figured out the codes for many of the fields in CHIPS, the 1984-2000ish NLRB case management system.

It’s going to be pretty hard to do much more without more documentation, than what’s available from the National Archive. If you have any CHIPS manuals from the late 1990s or early 2000s, please let me know.


Also, thanks to JP Ferguson’s blog, I learned that there were a number of electronic records for Unfair Labor Cases, Representation Cases, and Elections on deposit at CISER.

These records go back to the early 1960s and 1970s, which is fabulous.

They are also a bit of a mystery.

The FOIA officer at the NLRB, who is very good and very knowledgeable about the agency’s information systems knows nothing about these data, but the archivist at the Cornell Center of Social Sciences confirms that these records came from the NLRB. If you know anything more about these records, please let me know.

I’m planning on adding these to the the warehouse.

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