So here’s the most biased description of salting you’ll ever see:
“Salting” abuse is the intentional placing of trained union professional organizers and agents in a merit shop facility to harass or disrupt company operations, apply economic pressure, increase operating and legal costs, and ultimately put the company out of business.
Now why would the goal of union organizers be to put a company out of business? That would seem counterproductive. But hey, I’m just common sense guy, what do I know.
I was a salt once upon a time, and in my experience it was mostly how unions integrated radical college kids into their program and trained them to be organizers. They have a very effective system of personnel development set up that is built around workplaces that turns employees into organizers. Rather than run a parallel program for non-workers, you have your promising young radicals get jobs at targeted companies.
The college kids develop relationships with more working class folk and begin gaining legitimacy to organize in that community. They get on the job training in fighting a campaign. And they don’t drain union resources.
Of course, it’s also helpful to the campaign to have very dependable allies on the inside, and it can be done for that reason alone. Regardless it’s not nearly as sinister as the Associated Builders and Contractors would have the world believe.
Much worse is the widespread employer practice of clearing new hires with their anti-union consultants to ensure that new workers will be company men. Salting helps even the playing field, which remains ridiculously stacked against workers.