The Workforce Fairness Institute’s Fred Wszolek discussed the NLRB’s latest overreach that would require employers to hand over a worker’s personal information to a union boss on FBC Varney & Company. It’s inconceivable to me that anyone in their right minds would think that forcing employers to hand over their employees’ private contact info to people who are known for their intimidation tactics, would be a good idea.
Thankfully, new legislation is already being considered by Congress to circumvent this: H.R. 3991, the Keeping Employees’ Emails & Phones Secure Act (KEEP Secure Act)
Recent Proposal To Revise The Excelsior Rule
The ink was hardly dry on President Obama’s recess appointments of three new Board members, when the NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce announced that he would ask the newly-formed Board to adopt the balance of the Board’s originally proposed Election Rule including its proposed revisions to the Excelsior Rule that would require the disclosure of employees’ personal contact information.
The KEEP Secure Act Will Protect Employee Privacy
To the extent employees provide their employer with their personal e-mail addresses and telephone numbers it is with the expectation that that information will be used for the purposes for which it was provided, which more often than not, is to contact the employee or his/her family in the event of emergency. There is no federal law; however, that protects such private contact information from unwanted disclosure to third parties. The KEEP Secure Act will fill that void during a union organizing campaign by making the requirements of the Board’s existing Excelsior Rule a matter of federal statutory law.
Forcing employers to turn over their employees’ personal contact information is not only inconsistent with employees’ privacy expectations; it is also ruinous public policy. Whether to unionize or not is one of the most important decisions an employee will make. It is a difficult question and for that reason, union elections are often contentious with strong feelings being expressed on both sides of the question. Employees need their private space to calmly consider the issue. Providing union leadership with the personal contact information of workers, however, will enable a union to invade that space and rob employees of the opportunity to carefully consider the union question free from undue influence. Such access could also tempt some unions to use it to pressure, even intimidate and coerce an employee.
Hat tip: Weasel Zippers