Forewarned Is Forearmed: The Importance of Understanding Labor Issues in Making the Location Decision
11 Dec 2023
Building new and expanding existing facilities are complex undertakings. Companies face myriad decisions in first selecting a site and then in the long-term challenges of managing ongoing operations. A labor market analysis is a critical step in the site selection process, as the company needs to understand the local demographics for current and future workforce availability. Part of that analysis should involve assessing the actual “labor” laboring in the area — Are they unionized, union-free, or unionizing? The answer holds important information about the company’s future workforce because it illuminates both actual payroll costs and the costs organized labor exacts on employers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the union membership rate in 2022 was 10.1 percent, or 14.3 million workers, which is the lowest on record. Yet those numbers only tell part of the story. The latest Gallup poll from August 2023 reveals that 43 percent of adults want unions to have more influence in the country, and 34 percent believe that unions will become stronger. Importantly, for workforce considerations, 77 percent say that unions help more than hurt union members; a record-high 47 percent say that unions help more than hurt non-union members; and 57 percent say that unions mostly help the companies where employees are unionized.