Feds: Employers allowed to block e-mails related to labor union activity
Employers have the right to bar employees from sending union-related E-mails using company servers, the New York Times reports.
On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-2 that an employer, using internal company policy, has the right to classify a union-related communication as a "non-job-related solicitation."
The two dissenting board members noted that E-mail has become a major form of communication in the workplace, and disagreed with the majority's assertion that a company's "property rights" trump an employee's right to organize and discuss workplace-related issues with other workers.
The ruling involved The Register-Guard, a newspaper in Eugene, Ore., and e-mail messages sent in 2000 by Susi Prozanski, a newspaper employee who was president of the Newspaper Guild’s unit there. She sent an e-mail message about a union rally and two others urging employees to wear green to show support for the union’s position in contract negotiations.
During the years that this case was pending, many companies were uncertain whether they could bar union-related e-mail. But the labor board’s decision gives companies nationwide the green light to flatly prohibit union-related e-mails as part of an overall non-solicitation policy.
“Anyone with e-mail knows that this is how employees communicate with each other in today’s workplace,” said Jonathan Hiatt, general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “Outrageously in allowing employers to ban such communications for union purposes, the Bush labor board has again struck at the heart of what the nation’s labor laws were intended to protect — the right of employees to discuss working conditions and other matters of mutual concern.”
The entire New York Times article can be read HERE.