S.102: Restricting Employer Rights for Mandatory Meetings and Information, Possible Good Cause Termination, and Card Check Union Elections for Certain Employers

The House General and Housing Committee will pick up where things left off last legislative session looking at labor bills.  First off for discussion this week will be S.102, which would address employers’ rights to require mandatory meetings or information about “political” (including unionization) or religious topics, and would allow card-check unionization elections for organizations subject to related state labor laws (most private employers are subject to federal labor laws for unionization issues).  The core provisions addressing mandatory meetings and information include:

An employer, or an employer’s agent, shall not discharge, discipline, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against, or threaten to discharge, discipline, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against, an employee:

(1) because the employee declines:

(A) to attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting that has the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters; or

(B) to view or participate in communications with or from the employer or the employer’s agent that have the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters; or

(2) as a means of requiring an employee to:

(A) attend an employer-sponsored meeting that has the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters; or

(B) view or participate in communications with or from the employer or the employer’s agent that have the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s opinion about religious or political matters.

. . .

“Political matters” means matters relating to political affiliation, elections for political office, political parties, legislative proposals, proposals to change rules or regulations, and the decision to join or support any political party or political, civic, community, fraternal, or labor organization.  

“Religious matters” means matters relating to religious affiliation and practice and the decision to join or support any religious or denominational organization or institution.

Good Cause Standard for Termination?

As introduced last year, the bill would also have established a good cause standard for termination of employment, required employers to provide severance pay to terminated employees, and permitted employees or representative organizations to bring an enforcement action on behalf of the state for violations of the good cause termination requirement.  Although these provisions were removed from the bill before it passed the Senate, a number of legislators have expressed interest in seeing these provisions restored or moved in other legislation.

AIV will be engaging the Committee on this and any related legislation, especially if the issue of good cause termination is revived.  We encourage you to contact us at info@aivt.org if you have any interest in more information, updates, or opportunities to weigh in on these issues.