Orange County Register – Katie Packer Gage: Stalking exemption for Big Labor unfair
April 16, 2013 – Stalking exemption for Big Labor unfair California legislators must put their constituents ahead of a powerful special interest.
The first and most important responsibility of any elected official is to protect constituents. It is an unwritten rule, meaning it is so well understood and established that it need not be etched in stone. Yet for some reason this seems to be lost upon California’s representatives in Sacramento.
It is relatively unknown among the state’s citizens that the Legislature has actually passed a bill exempting union bosses and their organizers from prosecution when engaging in acts which fall under the stalking statute. If Big Labor’s actions take place during a labor dispute, California law has authorized them to stalk workers, their employers or families.
It is long known that union bosses have an outsized presence and influence in the Golden State, but no one should be provided license to harass and intimidate another person. Government’s primary role is to serve the interests of the public at large, not to give special treatment to one interest group.
But California does not stand alone. According to a recent report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce titled, “Sabotage, Stalking & Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions,” Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania have also issued this carve out for organized labor. Forty-six other states have refused to sanction stalking during labor disputes, and it is past time they are joined by the Golden State.
According to the report, “The very existence of these exemptions calls attention to the fact that the tactics employed by unions in their organizing activities can inflict the same level of emotional distress and intimidation caused by a stalker. Harassment of opponents is often part of a union’s effort to confront adversaries and pressure them to give in to its demands, and stalking is one aspect of this behavior. Unions have been known to employ this tactic even against other … unions.”
Unfortunately, a pattern has developed among Big Labor bosses whereby they seek and receive immunity from the government to the detriment of employees and employers. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board has taken steps to sacrifice freedoms all Americans have earned in an effort to reward President Obama’s largest political contributor.
These callous and imprudent policies include approval of “quickie” or “ambush” elections, which allow an employer less than three weeks to respond to an effort to unionize a workplace. It places tremendous pressure on employees ensuring few will have the information necessary to make an informed decision affecting their livelihoods, whether or not to form a collective bargaining unit.
Next, President Barack Obama’s labor board has been considering electronic off-site voting, which is a form of computerized card check as it exposes an employee’s vote in a union election to the scrutiny of labor organizers. To make matters worse, the NLRB’s chairman, Mark Pearce, told a media outlet in 2012 that the so-called independent agency intended to “requir[e] businesses to hand over lists of employee phone numbers and emails to union leaders before an election.”
It would be wise for elected officials in Sacramento to demonstrate concern for their constituents, and eliminate the anti-stalking exemption for Big Labor bosses.
Katie Packer Gage is a spokeswoman for the Workforce Fairness Institute.
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