Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Free Political Speech and the Workplace

Rarely does so lunk-headed a bill emanate from a legislator in Augusta:

The bill would make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker who disagrees with the boss's views or refuses to go to a meeting regarding politics. Employers still could say what they want, but they couldn't use employment actions to force workers to listen or agree, supporters said....

Sen. Beth Edmonds, D-Freeport, sponsored the bill after hearing about employers circulating political materials at work, such as report cards that rate how business-friendly individual legislators are....

Edmonds said she has not heard of any specific examples of such intimidation occurring in Maine but existing state law would not protect workers if it did occur.

I worked in a union shop warehouse for just under seven years. The union was forever putting leaflets on our breakroom tables that made all Democrats out to be saints who wanted nothing more than to protect us poor, defenseless proletarians and our grandmothers from the dastardly Republicans. If we wanted to attend a union meeting on any subject, we would be forced to hear political propaganda that didn't even pretend to have anything to do with the business at hand. Voicing dissent would lessen one's likelihood of being backed up by the union in any dispute with management.

So I find it very odd that this bill does not also address the problem of union intimidation. Just kidding.

If my employers were so blindered by their political leanings that they would retaliate against me for not agreeing with their point of view, why in the world would I want to work for them? If they couldn't evaluate my worth to them as a worker outside of the question of politics, I'd be a moron to keep working for them.



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