The UAW’s promise to respect the privacy of workers at home comes at a perfect time. The NLRB is in the process of writing new rules to govern union organizing elections. Unfortunately, instead of providing greater privacy protection to employees, the proposed “ambush” election rule goes in the opposite direction, requiring employers to turn over to the union even more personal information about the employees. And there are no strings attached, no rules whatsoever about what labor organizers can do with that personal contact information. Under the rule, employers would be required to provide union organizers the home and cell telephone numbers, and personal e-mail addresses of workers.
The Obama Labor Board should revise their proposed rule to empower workers to control what, if any, of their contact information is shared with the union, and just as importantly, how that information can be used. For instance, one worker might decline to share their home address with the union, while another might agree to share their home address for the purpose of receiving mail, but not for physical visits at their home. Another worker may agree only to receive communication via phone or email.
It is important to note, workers provide employers personal contact information when hired not for union organizing purposes; instead, they do so to receive payment, work-related correspondence and in the event something unfortunate takes place.
Giving workers control over their personal information makes so much sense even the UAW agreed to it in Chattanooga. Now it’s up to the NLRB to give every worker in America the same protection.