Labor Attempts to Further Restrict Employers During Rising Union Campaigns
Topics: Union-Management Relations
Earlier this week, National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo released a memo urging Biden’s pro-union Board to declare that employers can no longer hold “captive audience” meetings. “Captive audience” meetings, which are currently permitted, occur when employers hold mandatory meetings, during working hours, to present facts, opinions, and reasons to vote against forming a union during an election campaign.
The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) already limits what employers can say during “captive audience” meetings. For example, employers cannot legally promise pay increases, threaten to reduce pay or benefits, or ask employees what they think about the union during such meetings. Despite these limitations, Abruzzo argues that “captive audience” meetings are inherently coercive and violate an employee’s right to “refrain” from any and all union activity under the NLRA. Unsurprisingly, Abruzzo’s goal to further limit employers’ rights during election campaigns comes just as union organization efforts have seen a dramatic surge.
Abruzzo is clearly on a mission to expand access to employees for unions while narrowing access for employers. If her efforts to outlaw “captive audience” meetings are successful, it will be much more difficult for employers to convey their message and concerns about unionization to their employees.
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