NLRB General Counsel Takes Aim at Anti Union "Captive Audience" Meetings
On Thursday, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memorandum to all Field offices announcing that she will ask the Board to find mandatory meetings in which employees are forced to listen to employer speech concerning the exercise of their statutory labor rights, including captive audience meetings, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The Board has long-recognized that the Act protects employees’ right to listen to—or refrain from listening to—employer speech concerning their rights to act collectively to improve their workplace. Forcing employees to attend captive audience meetings under threat of discipline discourages employees from exercising their right to refrain from listening to this speech and is therefore inconsistent with the NLRA.
“This license to coerce is an anomaly in labor law, inconsistent with the Act’s protection of employees’ free choice. It is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of employers’ speech rights,” said General Counsel Abruzzo. “I believe that the NLRB case precedent, which has tolerated such meetings, is at odds with fundamental labor-law principles, our statutory language, and our Congressional mandate. Because of this, I plan to urge the Board to reconsider such precedent and find mandatory meetings of this sort unlawful.”
Both the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and the Amazon Labor Union recently filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the labor board, arguing that the meetings should be declared illegal. Read more from the NLRB here, and from the Huffington Post here!