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Teamsters Celebrate Worker Free Speech Legislation

Governor Signs Ban on Mandatory Captive Audience Meetings Into Law

New York Teamsters are commending the signing of a bill protecting worker free speech rights (S.4982/A.6604) into state law by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The legislation bans mandatory attendance at “captive audience” meetings – employer-held, closed-door gatherings where workers are forced under threat of termination to listen to deceptive misinformation designed to dissuade them from organizing.

“We are grateful to State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Karines Reyes for sponsoring this bill, to all the state legislators that voted in favor of the bill, and to Gov. Hochul for signing it into law,” said Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York City. “This legislation is critical in protecting workers’ free speech and their right to organize without being intimidated by employers and overpriced union-busting consultants.”

“Today is a new day in New York. Workers can no longer be forced the listen to anti-union rhetoric in the workplace,” said Tom Quackenbush, President of Teamsters Joint Council 18 in Albany. “Captive audience meetings are intended to scare workers into thinking they should not join a union. The reality is that captive audience meetings are one of several reasons workers should join a union: to protect themselves from employers who are only interested in looking out for their bottom lines.”

“Workers shouldn’t be subjected to propaganda by their employer – and now, in New York, they no longer will be,” said George Harrigan, President of Teamsters Joint Council 46 in Buffalo. “All states should follow suit and ban this authoritarian practice.”

Similar legislation has been enacted into law in Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon.