President’s Veto Opens Up Employees’ Private Information to Abuse

President Obama’s veto of a Congressional nullification of the National Labor Relation Board’s “ambush election” rule means that companies are forced to release your personal private information to outsiders. Obama’s veto means that Human Resources departments, which do not release private employee information to outsiders, can be compelled to release private telephone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, and work schedules to organized labor whenever a union vote is planned.

The rule is being fought by business interests, including the Business Council of Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Fortunately the courts will have a final say. A lawsuit supported by the U.S. Chamber and the NAM filed in January in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges, in part, that the rule violates federal law by curtailing an employer’s right to communicate with employees.

The rule takes effect April 14.

Congress had voted to overturn the NLRB regulation that not only reduced the time allowed between a union election announcement and an election from 38 days to 11 days but also required an employer to release private information. The NLRB rule ended 75 years of union organizing rules.

Apparently the regulation does not protect employees of top-secret businesses and defense suppliers. Once employee information is handed over, unions can spread this personal information to union officers, organizers, supporters inside the shop and out, and to the entire Internet, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.

Glenn Taubman, a lawyer with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, told lawmakers at a March 4 House subcommittee hearing how the rule is an invasion of privacy: While federal law lets people opt-out of getting phone unwanted telemarketing calls by registering with “Do Not Call,” and emails, employees can’t opt-out of letting a union have this information.

Three unelected bureaucrats appointed by the president decided the rule. The NLRB consists of five people; the three Democrats on the board approved it while the two Republicans opposed it.

Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, said the president chose “special interest unions over the rights of American workers,” because the rule gives union organizers access to employees’ personal information.

The rule was completed in December and is one of the biggest procedural changes in decades to the federal union-organizing process.

The rule unfairly speeds up the election process and limits the time employers have to make their case about unionization.

“President Obama has decided to stand with his powerful friends in Big Labor, rather than America’s workers and job creators,” said Rep. John Kline (R., Minn.), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Obama has scheduled a fall labor summit at the White House to increase unionization of American industry.

-Dana Beyerle