OLYMPIA (Jan. 27, 2023) — It takes a lot of courage to fight for a better, more fair workplace by joining together with coworkers in a union. Unfortunately, too many workers are compelled to attend coercive captive audience meetings during an organizing campaign, in which companies threaten employees and tell them how they should vote.
SB 5417, The Employee Free Choice Act sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), would protect workers who decline to attend these coercive meetings from retaliation or termination. No employee should have to attend mandatory meetings where the boss shares their political or religious views, or other matters of personal conscience.
TAKE A STAND — Send a message to your Washington State Senators urging them to support SB 5417. Remember: personalized letters are more effective. You’ll have space to edit a template letter to your senators. If you’ve experience a coercive/captive audience meetings, please share your experience so legislators can better understand the impacts.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, up to 90 percent of union organizing campaigns involve coercive/captive audience meetings, where workers are required to attend meetings where the employer expresses political or religious opinions.
SB 5417 would prevent corporations from firing or retaliating against workers if they choose not to participate in communications about the employers’ political or religious views.
Employers have the right to express their views on all subjects, including matters of individual conscience, but they should NOT be allowed to force those views on workers under the threat of losing their jobs. Individuals have the right to listen or not listen to the views of others on personal matters at home: this fundamental privacy right also needs protection in the workplace.
Please take action today by urging your Washington State Senator to support SB 5417.