Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Captive Audience Meetings

In 1948—62 years ago—in Babcock v. Wilcox, in light of the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which added new Section 8(c) to the NLRA, the NLRB abandoned its per se rule against employer captive audience meetings. But, Craig Becker, one of President Obama’s two recess appointments to the NLRB, said in a 1993 article:

“Although the Board ratified captive audience speeches on account of the free speech proviso, such conduct involves an element of coercion easily distinguishable from expression. The captive audience speech is diametrically opposed to the ‘free and open discussion’ the Board professes to promote.” Craig Becker, Democracy in the Workplace: Union Representation Elections and Federal Labor Law, 77 Minn. L. Rev. 495, 559 (1993).

Will the Obama Board attempt to erode 62 years of precedent?

Next Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT I will host a discussion / debate between Paul Secunda of Marquette University Law School and Scott Oborne of Jackson Lewis, on the future of captive audience meetings. You can register for the seminar with ALI-ABA here.

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