Did you hear? Employees now have the right to attempt union organizing via company email systems. Here's a tast of the ruling by the NLRB. Enjoy:
"The National Labor Relations Board ruled Friday that workers have a right to use their employer's email system for the purposes of union organizing. The ruling reverses a 2007 opinion by the board that employees did not have the right since the system was company property.
A 3-2 majority of board members said that employers who try to ban all non-work use of company email servers must prove that "special circumstances make the ban necessary to maintain production or discipline." Otherwise, employers may not raise objections or otherwise prevent workers from using the system to disseminate union-related materials.
The NLRB said the "importance of electronic means of communication to employees’ exercise of their rights" made the rule change necessary. To do otherwise would be "to smother employees’ rights under a blanket rule that vindicates only the rights of employers," the majority said. The ruling came in response to a case called Purple Communications and Communications Workers of America."
At the end of the day, this ruling is more smoke than fire - not a big deal.
Work with me on the logic for why that is... First, most union organizing has to be conducted in the shadows. In order to get the momentum going and ensure your company doesn't use it's legal right to engage and tell the workforce why unions are a bad idea, secrecy is the norm. Meetings are held at employee's houses, and mum's the word until the time is right - when enough support exists to get the right number of union cards signed to move the process to an election.
What do HR and business leaders want? They want to see smoke before there is a fire.
That's why the use of email to organize isn't as big of a deal as many think it is. Any use of email before signed cards are presented is a form of early warning - and a call to action to get your union-education program rolling before you have a much bigger problem on your hands.
Employees using email to organize? You should be so lucky.