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Trump NLRB ‘Sues Oregon To Preserve Employers Right To Hold Mandatory Anti-Union’ Meetings

Published Sunday, June 21, 2020
by Noah Wass/
Trump NLRB ‘Sues Oregon To Preserve Employers Right To Hold Mandatory Anti-Union’ Meetings

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Under the leadership of Trump appointees, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is suing to overturn an Oregon Law that gives Workers the right to skip Anti-Union Captive Audience Meetings.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S District Court against the State of Oregon, the NLRB argues the Oregon Law is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which the NLRB says protects an employer’s right to discipline Employees for failing to attend Anti-Union meetings.

According to the NLRB, the Oregon Law also violates an employer’s protected right to Free Speech.

The Worker Freedom Act - passed in 2009 with strong Union backing - prohibits Oregon employers from disciplining or threatening to discipline Workers for not attending Anti-Union meetings or meetings where an employer’s religious or political views are expressed.

During Union Organizing Campaigns, it’s extremely common for employers to hold so-called “Captive Audience” Meetings, meeting that are designated mandatory to attend in the workplace at which outside Union-Busting Consultants try to scare Workers into voting against a Union.

It’s not the first time the Worker Freedom Act has faced a court challenge.

In December 2009, Associated Oregon Industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued Laborers Local 296 and Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian to prevent the law from taking effect.

The business groups argued the law was pre-empted by Federal Labor Law and violated employers’ First Amendment rights.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling the business groups had failed to show they were harmed by either of the defendants.

In an April 7th response to the NLRB, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s office asked that the new lawsuit be dismissed for similar reasons because the state itself could not have caused the alleged harm.

The Worker Freedom Act allows Workers to sue their employer as a private individual.

The state has no power to enforce it or bring a lawsuit on any Worker’s behalf.

The NLRB replied on May 21th the state harmed the NLRB because it wrote and passed the law.

According to the filing, the NLRA gives the NLRB the ultimate authority to regulate and protect an employer’s Free Speech concerning Unionization.

The NLRB also cites the pre-emption doctrine, which holds that State Law, where it conflicts with Federal Law, must bow to Federal Law.

To fix this conflict, the NLRB wants the Worker Freedom Act declared invalid when it applies to meetings where unions are the subject.

A hearing is scheduled for July 14th via telephone before U.S. District Court Judge Mustafa T. Kasubhai.

For now, the Workers Freedom Act remains in effect and Oregon Workers may still sue their employers should they be threatened or disciplined for not attending an Anti-Union meeting.

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