Cornell University

Catherwood Library

Catherwood Library, Ives Hall, 607-255-5435

Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

June-July 2006

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: How can I find out if a company has a labor union?

Answer: There is not a single or comprehensive source for this information. The following list (in no particular order) will provide clues to answer this question:

1. The National Labor Relations Act requires that employers or the representative of the employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement provide written notice to the other party 60 days prior to the expiration date of a proposed termination or modification of a collective bargaining agreement. The Act also calls for notice to be provided to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), which is called the F-7 Notice of Bargaining.

a. Use the Labor Database (FAST-RAA) to search the FMCS database of collective bargaining agreements with expiration dates from 1997-2030. This CD-ROM is available on computers in the Catherwood Library Reference Workroom. Ask for assistance at the Reference Desk. This CD-ROM also includes National Labor Relations Board Election and Petition data. Go to the FAST-RAA web site for Information and Order form for the Labor Database CD.

b. At the FMCS web site, you can also access monthly reports of F-7 Notices of Bargaining filed with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. After filling out an online FOIA request, you have immediate access to reports in .xls or .txt format from June 2003-present.

2. Collective Bargaining Agreements File -- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The BLS maintains an online listing of available agreements that cover 1,000 or more workers. One can view this online listing by Employer name and can see if there is a current contract on file for a particular company.

3. OSHA Establishment Search
This page enables the user to search for OSHA enforcement inspections by the name of the establishment. After choosing an Activity report, you will see that Union Status is one of the details included.

4. Union Label
Search this database by products/services or keywords to find companies where the products are produced by union labor. See also ShopUnionMade.org.

5. BNA LaborPLUS
Fee-based Service that can provide information about companies and unions. Start at the BNA PLUS home page and click BNA LaborPlus for more details.

6. Another strategy is to search news sources, combining a company name with terms such as collective bargaining, labor union, labor contract. At the ILR School, we have access to the Daily Labor Report, which may provide clues about a company's union status.

— Researched by S. Cohen