Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NLRB Rule Threatens Worker Privacy ; Provision of New Ambush Election Rule Puts Workers at Increased Risk

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NLRB Rule Threatens Worker Privacy ; Provision of New Ambush Election Rule Puts Workers at Increased Risk

Article excerpt

Poll after poll indicates Americans value their privacy. Yet government is a top offender in this regard, with federal agencies infringing on private citizens information or lax security that leads to a privacy breach. People may not know it yet, but the National Labor Relations Board is one federal agency trampling those privacy concerns. The federal labor board, which is charged with conducting private-sector union elections, is now implementing an ambush election rule overhauling the union election process.

The NLRBs rule drastically shortens the time period for union organizing elections, possibly to as little as 11 days after a union files a petition. That gives employees little time to educate themselves on the pros and cons of unionizing.

The rule also creates potential conflicts concerning voter eligibility, but relegates any resolution to eligibility until after the election.

But the greatest threat from the ambush election rule is to worker privacy. Employers are compelled to provide employee contact information to union organizers, including personal cell phone numbers, email addresses and work schedules without an opt-out provision for those who prefer not to share personal data or have a third party know when they are home or at work.

This invasion of privacy runs the risk of increased identity theft, intimidation and harassment of workers around the country.

This privacy breach is not of concern to the NLRB regulators, who have a plain bias for organized labor. And under the new rule, sure enough, unions win more elections 1,128, a 10-year high, a Bloomberg BNA analysis shows. Not only that, more elections are being held 1,628, a five-year high. That means more workers will have their private information wrested away. Unions get workers private information when an election is conducted, even if they lose the election. Its not as if workers can get that information back once its out there.

Thankfully, the NLRBs brazen attitude toward privacy may hit a roadblock. A lawsuit filed by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas could undo the provision. Politico recently reported that a 5th Circuit panel took issue with the rules provision that employers must fork over workers private information to union organizers during a union election drive. …

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