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Employers Can Ban Union-Related Email, Says NLRB
December 22, 2007

On the eve of his expiring term, the NLRB’s Chairman Robert Battista offers a generous parting gift to anti-union employers and a cruel kiss-off to hard-working men and women.  The latest assault on workers by the Bush-appointed majority of the National Labor Relations Board:  a precedent-setting ruling allowing an employer to ban union-related email communications. 

In a 3-2 decision, the Labor Board ruled that use of an employer’s email system for union members’ communications is no longer a protected right.  Battista and two other Bush-appointed members argued that because the union members can still communicate face-to-face, the employer can decide to ban use of company email for union communications. The dissenting board members argue such communication in today’s modern workplace should be protected speech, because email should be no different from " a telephone, a television set, a bulletin board, or a slip of scrap paper."

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Big Brother Board allowed employers to ban union members talking to each other – two years ago, the Board ruled that employers can ban off-duty fraternization among co-workers.

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About the Author

Erin Johansson Erin Johansson writes our Eye on the NLRB blog.  Erin has worked as a Senior Research Associate at American Rights at Work since 2004 and is the author of some of our reports.  


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