Union Salts as Administrative Private Attorneys General

44 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010

See all articles by Michael C. Duff

Michael C. Duff

University of Wyoming College of Law

Date Written: October 7, 2010


The legitimacy of union salting campaigns has been debated frequently and bitterly over the last several years. Salts, the agents of these campaigns, are professional union organizers who apply for, and sometimes obtain – often surreptitiously – employment with non-union employers in furtherance of union objectives. Although recent decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), under the influence of the W. Bush administration, have erected administrative and legal roadblocks to the conduct of salting campaigns, it is likely that the “Obama Board” will revisit the issues surrounding them. This article argues that salts have served a legitimate function by exposing unlawful, anti-union employment practices. Developing more fully a fleeting discussion in a recent NLRB case, the article explores whether salts’ aggressive charge filing activity at the NLRB represents a permissible form of administrative private attorney general mechanism in aid of increased enforcement of the NLRA. Answering the question in the affirmative, the article contends that the NLRB should not reject salting activity on “moral” grounds, or based upon an overly restrictive view of the nature of union organizing.

Keywords: salting, union organizing, private attorneys general, administrative enforcement

JEL Classification: J50, J51, J52, J53, J58, J59, J70, J71, J78, K31, K42

Suggested Citation

Duff, Michael C., Union Salts as Administrative Private Attorneys General (October 7, 2010). Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 32, Spring 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689208

Michael C. Duff (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 3035
Laramie, WY 82071
United States

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