button Vol. 5
No. 4
Spring 2000

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More on Workplace Romance -
Dating, Harassment, Court Rulings
and More!
line Allergies and Asthma in the Workplace
- Deserve Attention
line Drug Testing of Workers
Is Not Cost Effective Says ACLU
line New Concerns About Union Organizing and E-mail
line Some Employers Crack Down on Personal Online Time
line Briefs


Braun Consulting News
News on Personnel, Labor Relations and Benefits

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button New Concerns About Union Organizing and E-mail

Computers and e-mail are changing the way unions communicate with potential new members. Currently, electronic mail enables unions to "talk" to employees without the limitations U.S. labor law places on traditional oral and printed communications by unions.

The National Labor Relations Board has not specifically addressed e-mail organizing, but has ruled on cases involving whether an employer has the right to restrict the use of company e-mail. The board's 1993 decision in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., concluded that the company's rule barring the use of e-mail to send non-work-related messages was discriminatory because there was no blanket rule prohibiting the use of e-mail for all but business reasons.

In the case Timekeeping Systems Inc. v. Lawrence LeinWebber, the NLRB found the employee was improperly terminated after he criticized the company's new vacation policy via e-mail. His actions were deemed concerted activity and were protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

But the issue of union access to employees at work through company e-mail could be short lived. With the growing home computer market the question will no longer be whether the union has access to the workplace, but whether the employer can have access to employees' home computers.

Some Employers Crack Down on Personal Online Time Next Page

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