Unions Get Unusual Legal Passes

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

Are stalking or harassment ever acceptable practices? In Pennsylvania, the answer is yes – to both. Pennsylvania legislators who passed anti-stalking and harassment legislation made exceptions for labor union organizers, exemptions which remain Commonwealth law.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report entitled "Sabotage, Stalking & Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions," reveals that Pennsylvania law "permits ‘labor’ exemption from laws regulating conduct that would otherwise be considered criminal activity."

It states, "…Pennsylvania, and other states with a significant union presence…carve out an exemption from the crime of stalking, in the case of Pennsylvania by noting the prohibition on stalking ‘shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute.’" — ditto union harassment.

According to the national chamber’s report: "While few lawmakers or members of the public are generally aware of these special provisions, they seem clearly intended to tilt the playing field in favor of unions – with potentially significant impacts on workers, employers, individual citizens, and the overall economic and political climate in the state."

In Pennsylvania, little attention has been paid to these matters, but labor’s freedom to stalk and harass workers provided by the Commonwealth’s legal exemption combined with recent actions by President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board reveals a coercive pattern. Just as Pennsylvania law does, the NLRB has shown a willingness to sacrifice the rights and freedoms of workers to allow organized labor to add dues-paying members.

A 2012 quote by NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce signaled his agency’s intention to "requir[e] businesses to hand over lists of employee phone numbers and emails to union leaders before an election." The only purpose this would serve is to allow labor organizers outside-the-workplace access to confront and coerce workers into approving collective bargaining — in other words, to stalk and harass them.

The NLRB also favors a form of computerized card check allowing electronic off-site voting, a practice which would effectively nullify the secret ballot and expose a worker’s vote to union scrutiny. The NLRB has also attempted to fast track union certification elections so that employers would be unable to present their cases against organization to employees.

"Card check," a more common term for the Orwellian-named "Employee Free Choice Act" — a bill about which nothing was "free" — never passed Congress even with Democratic majorities in both houses.

The legislation would have eliminated the secret ballot for union certification elections, allowed government to make or preempt business decisions for unionized companies and added penalties and costs to doing business. Obama’s NLRB has been unsuccessful, so far, in imposing the practice through regulatory fiat.

Pennsylvanians working for union-targeted companies have received multiple home "visits" by union organizers, fueling speculation about sympathetic state employees and, in some cases, providing real evidence of others with access to drivers records giving unions workers’ contact information cross-referenced from license plate numbers recorded in employee parking lots.

Pennsylvania’s 1937 Labor Anti-injunction Act generally prevents state court judges from granting injunctions to stop labor abuses even when illegal acts have been committed, threatened or the end objectives in labor disputes are illegal, today including, shockingly, legal exceptions for labor’s use of weapons of mass destruction.

The primary responsibilities of the Pennsylvania and national governments are to protect their citizens. Considering union support for the president’s elections, Washington’s labor-friendly regulatory environment is unlikely to improve until Obama leaves office. But, in Pennsylvania, where Republicans hold the governor’s office and legislative majorities, it’s unacceptable that labor organizers receive Get Out of Jail Free cards for aggravated stalking, criminal harassment and other offenses — felonies when committed by anyone else.

If labor unions provide workers genuine value, they should easily attract new members through defined, lawful certification processes without coercive, otherwise criminal activities.

Pennsylvania lawmakers must eliminate these "legal" labor abuses. Unions wouldn’t abuse the law, you say? Then passing the bill costs them nothing. But, citizens should know which legislators favor preserving felonious behavior and subordinating Pennsylvania’s workers’ rights to the interests – and criminal indemnification — of unions and labor organizers.