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Legislative Alert: May 19, 2023

New York State AFL-CIO
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President's Message

Protect Workers from Captive Audience Retaliation  
S4982 Ramos/A6604 Reyes, et al

S4982/A6604 prevents employers from disciplining or retaliating against their workers for refusing to participate in employer-sponsored meetings to convey their own political ideologies, religious beliefs, or their opinions with regard to the ability to join political parties, civic or fraternal organizations or labor unions. Known as “captive audience” meetings, these presentations are often used by employers to influence or intimidate their workers on otherwise personal decisions and sometimes even threaten or coerce employees into making specific decisions on these issues.

It is important to note that this bill does not prevent employers from holding captive audience meetings or conveying their positions and in no way does this bill restrict any employer’s free speech. The bill simply prevents employers from taking adverse actions against their workers for refusing to participate in such meetings. The bill also clearly protects employers’ ability to covey what they otherwise must in terms of their legal obligations, training and education, and other necessary work-related communications.

Employers are in a unique position of power over their workers and when it comes to personal rights and decisions with respect to health care, the right to join a union or political party, workers should not be required to listen to their employers’ views. Employers that mingle these issues with legitimate business purposes often do not provide alternative opinions and in the event that workers find such material offensive or inaccurate, they should have the ability to opt out of participation in that portion of the meeting without fear of retaliation or loss of employment.

The bill would still allow employers to offer their own views to their workers on any matter they choose but on a voluntary basis, rather than coerced. This will ensure that the free speech of everyone involved is protected. The NYS AFL-CIO supports this bill and is committed to protecting an employee's right to freedom of speech in the workplace. 

Mario Cilento, President

Upcoming Events

WGAE are on strike and we hope your union will come out and show it's support.  
Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 11am-2pm  
30 Rock (49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues)  

Monday, June 5, 2023, 1:00 p.m.