Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-03) penned this opinion piece for his latest Capitol Corner newsletter. Enjoy!
Georgia is a Right-to-Work state, and that’s something I’m proud of. We’ve taken care of our workers, ensuring equal opportunity, all without forcing them to join and pay for unions they don’t want. Unfortunately, as the digital world is changing, not every state and its employees are as lucky.
It’s recently come to light that union officials have resorted to stalking, cyber stalking, and identity theft to intimidate workers into joining the unions. The worst part is that their criminal actions have been upheld in at least one state court as exempt because they are “preempted” by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This is absolutely unacceptable.
Every state in America sees stalking as a criminal act, generally defined as unwanted and repeated contact with another individual with the purpose of causing mental or emotional distress. To gain better control over workers, labor unions have resorted to outrageous intimidation tactics, such as publically posting – or otherwise threatening to disclose – employees’ private, personal and financial information. Union officials are showing up at worker’s homes, their children’s schools, posting their social security numbers in public – all to pressure workers into joining their union. If every state has a general consensus on what stalking is, what makes union officials so special that they are exempt?
Well, its states like Illinois, California, Nevada and Pennsylvania who offer broad exemptions for union officials, including stalking and identity theft, and leave the door open for harassment. This exemption of unions from these crimes paves the way for personal intrusion. No one should feel threatened or intimidated at their homes, schools, or online from unions or from anyone for that matter. Big labor shouldn’t be a big bully.
As we move into a more digital world, we have to make sure our laws are up to date. This includes protection against cyber stalking and identity theft, especially by union officials. My good friend and colleague from Georgia, Congressman Tom Price, introduced two bills to curb the labor union’s intimidation tactics: H.R. 2472, Freedom from Union Stalking Act, and H.R. 2473, Freedom from Union Identity Theft Act. I’ve signed on as a cosponsor of these two bills to ensure it is explicitly stated that the NLRB or any union official does not preempt anti-stalking and anti-identity theft laws.
In addition to signing onto these two bills, I have been an outspoken opponent of and have been closely following the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) unconstitutional recess appointments. Two DC Circuit Appeals Courts have deemed President Obama’s NLRB appointments as unconstitutional and now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case this fall. Although it is likely that the Supreme Court case against the NLRB could take upwards of a year, I’m thankful that these unconstitutional appointments are being reviewed.
It’s time we get the NLRB and labor union’s hands off of our workplaces, and most importantly, their employee’s personal lives. The NLRB must learn that they cannot skirt the law, and I hope through these two bills introduced by Congressman Price, along with the Supreme Court, we can show that bullies never win.