As has already been discussed in this blog, 2023 saw a record-breaking amount of union activity across the United States. Strikes by large, high-profile unions representing the United Auto Workers, UPS workers, the teamsters, and writers and actors as well as smaller, lower-profile unions all resulted in gains for workers.
One would think that these wins would translate into an increase in the percentage of unionized workers in the United States, but studies are not yet showing that increase. In fact, overall union membership dropped in 2023 from 10.1% to 10%. See https://www.jacksonlewis.com/insights/top-five-labor-law-developments-january-2024.
Experts suggest a large influx of workers into the economy increased the overall worker population and diluted any specific increases in a unionized workforce. To the extent there are gains in union membership, these gains are more likely to be in workers of color under the age of 45.
It may be that the impact of 2023 union successes hasn’t revealed itself yet. Further, there were several rulings by the National Labor Relations Board in 2023 that should create a more favorable environment for union organizing and recruitment. The impact of these rulings may start to be felt this coming year.
Overall, employers should anticipate continued strong union activity across the country and pay attention to their workforce. Now may be a good time to consult with legal counsel about how employers can legally respond to unionization efforts should they arise.
The rights of temporary workers in New Jersey also took center stage in 2023 with the passage of the New Jersey Temporary Worker Bill of Rights. In 2024, New Jersey temporary help service firms await greater clarity from the State on the implementation of the new law.
Temporary help service firms and their clients should monitor the development of regulations issued by the State that will interpret and clarify provisions of the law. They should also watch for updates on the remaining provisions of the law that have not yet gone into effect, particularly provisions regarding temporary help service firm registration.