Connecticut to Ban Captive Audience Meetings
Foxwoods use of these meetings may force the legislature to permanently ban them
UCOMM recently reported on legislation in New York and New Jersey that would strengthen unions in case the Janus decision brought Right to Work to their states. Not to be outdone, Connecticut is considering a bill that would ban captive audience meetings.
The bill would prohibit companies from forcing their employees to attend meetings concerning their political or religious beliefs. If passed, the bill would allow employees to refuse to attend these meetings without fear of being fired.
The bill is being proposed this year not only because of the threat of Janus but also because Foxwoods is subjecting their employees to these meetings. The resort and casino are facing an organizing drive from their Environmental Services Department. So far over 70% of the department has signed cards stating that they would like to join a union. At a recent hearing on the bill, 7 of the employees testified. At the hearing, one employee testified that management would hold regular anti-union meetings on company time, where they handed out anti-union literature that included many false claims about unions. After they filed for an election, management began to corner small groups of employees, as well as conduct one on one meetings, where they pushed an anti-union agenda.
The point of these meetings is to intimidate and scare the employees into voting against the union. The Connecticut AFL-CIO has also seen employers use this tactic to pressure their employees into voting for specific political candidates. “Part of it is, since Citizens United, employers feel more empowered to use captive audience meetings, not just for [union] elections, but for bringing in candidates,” said CT AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier.
The bill passed the Judiciary Committee last week and will now go for a full vote before the legislature. Foxwoods employees will be voting on whether to join UNITE HERE on April 20th.