Teamsters Commend Legislature for Passing Worker Free Speech Bills
Union Calls on Gov. Hochul to Sign Legislation into Law
New York Teamsters are applauding the state legislature for sending a bill protecting worker free speech rights (S.4982/A.6604) to the desk of 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.
“State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Karines Reyes, and everyone else who supported this bill have done an incredible service defending economic democracy and the right of New Yorkers to determine what’s in their own self-interest—without being subject to coercion, intimidation, or imposition,” said Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “We’re urging the Governor to enact these bills into law as quickly as possible.”
“Captive audience meetings often feature highly paid ‘consultants’ whose only goal is to mislead, threaten, and intimidate workers into voting against joining a union,” said Tom Quackenbush, President of Teamsters Joint Council 18. “Furthermore, because these consultants are usually a tax-deductible expense, the American taxpayer is left holding the bag for anti-union propaganda. This legislation is a good step toward curtailing a practice that is fundamentally repressive and morally wrong.”
“This bill doesn’t restrict the freedom of speech of employers – rather, it protects workers who choose to exercise their own freedom by returning to their work duties instead of sitting through a garbage re-education session,” said George Harrigan, President of Teamsters Joint Council 46. “We encourage states that haven’t already done so to follow suit and ban mandatory captive audience meetings.”
Similar legislation has already been enacted into law in Oregon, Minnesota, and Connecticut. California lawmakers are also considering a captive audience bill.