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Salting (union organizing)

Salting is a labor union tactic involving the act of getting a job at a specific workplace with the intent of organizing a union.[1] A person so employed is called a "salt".

The tactic is often discussed in the United States because under US law unions may be prohibited from talking with workers in the workplace and salting is one of the few legal strategies that allow union organizers to talk with workers. Both the Knights of Labor and the Industrial Workers of the World employed salts. The IWW continues to use salts, especially in their Starbucks Workers Campaign.[2]

In Toering Elec. Co., 351 N.L.R.B. No. 18 (Sept. 29, 2007), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concluded that workers in the United States can be fired if they are believed to not be "genuinely interested" in obtaining the job. This category includes salting.[3][4] This decision was later superseded by a 2018 decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that further modified the criteria for when the NLRB can find that an employer violated the law by firing a salt.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Organizing Under Cover (Salting)". Industrial Workers of the World. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2008.
  2. ^ Lipscombe, Carl (April 26, 2006). "Inside Job: Union Organizing Today". Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  3. ^ Hirsch, Jeffrey M. (October 4, 2007). "The NLRB Cuts Back on Salt(ing)".
  4. ^ Bronfenbrenner, Kate; Sheldon Friedman; Richard W. Hurd; Rudolph A. Oswald (1998). Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies. Cornell University Press. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8014-8446-9. salting unions labor.
  5. ^ Robertson, Sara J. (23 April 2018). "Eighth Circuit Upholds National Labor Relations Act's Union "Salting" Protections". The National Law Review. National Law Forum, LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  6. ^ Perryman, Neal F.; Jente, Michael L.; Wurm, William R. (March 2018). "Union "Salting" Protections in the National Labor Relations Act Affirmed by Eighth Circuit". LewisRice. Lewis Rice LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2023.

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Salting (union organizing)
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