The Power of Place

The Cambridge Handbook of U.S. Labor Law: Reviving American Labor for a 21st Century Economy (Richard Bales & Charlotte Garden, eds.) (CAMBRIDGE UNIV. PRESS, Forthcoming).

22 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2018

Date Written: March 22, 2018

Abstract

While asking voters to make electoral decisions in spaces owned and curated by an interested party would be perceived as outlandish in a political context, labor law encourages it. This chapter presses for reform by highlighting cutting-edge electoral field research, backed by established work on context, memory, and decision-making, suggesting that voting in what is effectively the employer’s campaign headquarters is profoundly preference distorting. That change is possible is highlighted by the reality that although so-called “on-site” voting has long been the National Labor Relations Board’s practice, nothing about it is legally compelled. In fact, the law requires only that polling places be picked on a case-by-case basis through a variety of factors like convenience and integrity. The problem, however, is that non-binding administrative guidance makes workplace voting effectively automatic. Though the guidelines have proved surprisingly durable, the case for rewriting them has never been stronger. Doing so is important not simply to reclaim representation elections from the margins of democratic practice, but to initiate a modern era of neutral-site, mail, and even internet-based voting.

Keywords: elections, unions, voting, labor law

JEL Classification: J50, J51, J53, K31, J80, J81, J82, J83, J88

Suggested Citation

Oswalt, Michael M, The Power of Place (March 22, 2018). The Cambridge Handbook of U.S. Labor Law: Reviving American Labor for a 21st Century Economy (Richard Bales & Charlotte Garden, eds.) (CAMBRIDGE UNIV. PRESS, Forthcoming).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3146953

Michael M Oswalt (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

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