A union raid is when a challenger or outsider union tries to take over the membership base of an existing incumbent union, typically through a union raid election in the United States and Canada.

Union raids have been criticized by the labor movement because they promote rivalry between unions and direct resources away from organizing the non-unionized workforce in the United States and Canada, a majority of the total workforce.[1]


Raids can be informal through campaigning and or soliciting an incumbent union's members or more direct by an outsider union calling for a decertification election in a bid to take over an incumbent union's membership. Between 1975 and 1989 over 1,414 multi-union raid elections were documented by the NLRB in the United States.[2] In Canada, official data on scale and success of union raids is limited to the Federal government and the province of British Columbia. A research study on Ontario, Canada's most populous province, found 1,046 multi-union raids elections between 1975 and 2003, with 181 raids attributed to the Canadian Auto Workers and SEIU Healthcare raids over the years 2001–2002.[3]

United Electrical Workers

After the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, a number of union raid elections were enacted by the CIO;[note 1] against the recently expelled left-wing union affiliates, accounting for almost half of all union raids in the year 1950.[4] The majority of these raids were between the expelled United Electrical Workers and the newly formed anti communist CIO affiliate International Union of Electrical Workers.[note 2] It is debated whether they should be considered union raids. Many union locals were effectively voting on which faction of the split "United Electric Workers" they wanted to affiliate with.[4]

No raid agreements

Raiding by the AFL affiliated Teamsters union was such a serious issue that it prompted the trade union centers AFL,[note 1] and CIO, who had attempted to sign a no-raid agreement for years, to finally negotiate and implement such a pact in December 1953.[5][6][7] Initially Teamsters president Beck refused to sign the agreement and threatened to withdraw the Teamsters from the AFL if forced to adhere to it.[8][9][10][11] Three months after the pact was signed, the Teamsters agreed to submit to the terms of the no-raid agreement.[12][13][14][15] Shortly thereafter, the AFL adopted Article 20 of its constitution, which forbade its member unions from raiding one another.[16]

In 1968 the Alliance for Labor Action made up of the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters,[note 3] offered the AFL–CIO a no-raid pact as a first step toward building a working relationship between the competing trade union centers, but the offer was rejected.

Since 1992, the AFL–CIO constitution has contained a clause inside Article XX forbidding union raids among its affiliates with various remedies for resolving inter-union conflict.[18][19]


  1. ^ a b In 1955 the AFL and CIO merged to form the AFL–CIO
  2. ^ Today the IUF is affiliated with Communications Workers of America
  3. ^ In 1956 Teamsters was ejected by the newly merged AFL-CIO due to corruption scandals.[17]


  1. ^ Scott, Clyde; Arnold, Edwin; Odewahn, Charles (1992-12-01). "Raid Elections: Another Problems for Unions?". Public Personnel Management. 21 (4): 555–564. doi:10.1177/009102609202100410. S2CID 154102330.
  2. ^ Arnold, Edwin; Scott, Clyde; Rasp, John (April 1, 1992). "The Determinants of Incumbent Union Victory in Raid Elections". Labor Law Journal. 43 (4): 221 – via ProQuest.
  3. ^ Bartkiw, Timothy J.; Martinello, Felice (2005). "Union Raiding and Organizing in Ontario". Relations Industrielles / Industrial Relations. 60 (2): 273–295. doi:10.7202/011722ar. ISSN 0034-379X. JSTOR 23078053.
  4. ^ a b Krislov, Joseph (1955). "The Extent and Trends of Raiding among American Unions". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 69 (1): 145–152. doi:10.2307/1884855. ISSN 0033-5533. JSTOR 1884855.
  5. ^ Raskin, AH (December 11, 1953). "AFL Drafts Plan for Ban on Raiding". New York Times.
  6. ^ Loftus, Joseph A. (December 17, 1953). "AFL and CIO Sign No Raiding-Accord". New York Times.
  7. ^ Loftus, Joseph A. (December 15, 1953). "Labor Still Seeks Union Raiding Ban". New York Times.
  8. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-02-14). "TEAMSTERS GIRD FOR A. F. L. BATTLE; Beck's Union Will Challenge Jurisdiction Agreement and No-Raid Pact". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  9. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-02-19). "Teamsters Reject No-Raid Pact; CIO-AFL Unity Plan Set Back; Teamsters Spurn No-Raiding Pact". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  10. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-02-20). "Beck Hints Move to End AFL Tie; He Hits Petition of Railway Clerks for Vote on Status of Express Agency Drivers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  11. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-02-21). "Beck Bars No Raiding Pact; Refusal of Teamsters to Enter Agreement May Be Prelude to Further Strife". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  12. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-05-14). "Plan to Aid Peace in AFL Advances; Executive Council Approves Jurisdictional Machinery – 60 Unions to Act Today". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  13. ^ Raskin, A. H. (1954-05-15). "Labor Unity Pacts Sealed by Unions; AFL, CIO Fix Effective Date of No-Raid Treaty – Arbitration Plan Signed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  14. ^ Loftus, Joseph A. (1954-06-07). "Unions Will Sign Non–Raiding PACT; AFL and CIO Groups to Take Amity Step Wednesday – Goodwill Held Pivotal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  15. ^ "94 Unions Accept No-Raiding Pact; Leaders of AFL and CIO Call It a 'Cease-Fire' and Step Toward Merger". The New York Times. 1954-06-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  16. ^ Levey, Stanley (1954-08-14). "Union Raiding Ban Drafted by AFL; Federation Due to Approve Council's Plan, Which Beck Refuses to Support". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  17. ^ Raskin, AH (April 7, 1956). "Teamsters Facing Meany Showdown". New York Times.
  18. ^ Petruska, Brian (2003-01-01). "Choosing Competition: A Proposal to Modify Article XX of the AFL-CIO Constitution". Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. 21 (1).
  19. ^ Vaughn, Lea (1990-01-01). "Article XX of the AFL-CIO Constitution: Managing and Resolving Inter-Union Disputes". Wayne Law Review. 37: 1.