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Media coverage of the Employee Free Choice Act has so far focused mostly on the provision allowing workers to choose whether to hold a union election by secret ballot — the only option now available under law — or by simply signing union cards. But that’s not the only change EFCA would make to U.S. labor law: It would also provide for mandatory injunctions against companies for unfair labor practices during union election campaigns.

Just how common are such practices? That was the topic of the index in this week’s edition of the Facing South e-newsletter, which also includes a roundup of news from across the South and special features. If you’re not already a subscriber, please add your e-mail to the list in the box on the right of this page. Subscriptions are free, and we promise not to share your e-mail address with anyone.

All of the figures are from ‘Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns, 1951-2007,’ by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, Center for Economic and Policy Research, March 2009.

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Percent of U.S. union election campaigns in the late 1990s in which pro-union workers were illegally fired: 16

Percent of U.S. union election campaigns in the 2000s in which pro-union workers were illegally fired: 26

Percent of U.S. union election campaigns in 2007 in which pro-union workers were illegally fired: 30

Chance that a pro-union worker involved in a union election campaign would be illegally fired in the 1970s: 1 in 100

Chance from 2000 on: 1 in 52

Estimated chance that union organizers or activists will be fired today as a result of their activities in a union election campaign: 1 in 5

Percent of all U.S. workers belonging to unions in 1948: 31.8

Percent of all U.S. workers belonging to unions in 2008: 12.4

Percent of private-sector U.S. workers belonging to unions in 2008: 7.6

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