Unions seek power play in Washington State.

Although the Employee Free Choice Act has rightfully garnered much attention for the limits it would place on employers’ abilities to fight union organizing campaigns, organized labor is making a similar push on the state level to restrict employer options during attempts to organize the workplace. 

This blog has posted previous entries regarding state versions of the EFCA here and here, and now comes word of a new piece of legislation in the State of Washington that seeks to limit workplace communications.   The bill would ban employer communications about “matters directly related to candidates, election officials, ballot propositions, legislation, election campaigns, political parties, and political, social, community, and labor or other mutual aid organizations.” This could well limit an employer’s ability to make its case to workers during an organizing campaign.

Its hard to blame organized labor for seeking these changes that would make unionization an easier process for workers. Given the decline of the organized labor movement in this country in recent decades, unions are certainly not the indispensable organization in workers’ lives they once were. 

Really though, while unions have every right to make their lives earlier and to increase their membership, they need to stop hiding behind condescending phrases like “protecting employee’s free choice” or “protecting workplace privacy.” These are power grabs—pure and simple, and has nothing to do with improving the lots of workers in this country.