Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Coercion at the Ballot Box

BallotDennis Nolan flags for us In re United Public Workers, FEC, No. MUR 6344, 8/7/12, discussed in yesterday's Daily Labor Report.  A union encouraged its employees to support a Democratic candidate for Congress.  The union then fired two employees, purportedly for failing to support that candidate.  The employees then brought a complaint to the Federal Election Commission alleging violations of campaign finance laws.  The FEC deadlocked, with the three Democrats voting against the union and the three Republicans voting for the union.  A statement issued in the case by the FEC Democrats stated that although Citizens United allows corporations and unions to spend money to influence campaigns, there is no indication that the Court “intended to expand the rights of corporations and unions at the expense of their employees' long-standing rights to be free from coercion and to express or decline to express their own political views.”  The FEC Republicans did not issue a statement in the case.


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Weird case. I like it.

Posted by: Michael Duff | Aug 16, 2012 5:36:21 AM

Where does this "long-standing right" of employees of a private party (union or corporation) to be free from political pressure by their employer come from? In the absence of a state statute to the contrary, Slater's Widgets could decide to employ only Republicans or only Democrats. While about half the states have statutes to the contrary, at least the vast majority of those are of fairly recent vintage.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Aug 16, 2012 6:12:45 AM

Perhaps they are referring to the Federal Election Campaign Act which prohibits taking action against employees who do not do x, y, and z.

Posted by: Per Son | Aug 17, 2012 9:03:39 AM

Hmm, guess I should read up on that. Got a cite?

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Aug 17, 2012 5:03:28 PM

I never thought I'd see the phrase "with the three Democrats voting against the union and the three Republicans voting for the union."

Posted by: Cornellian | Aug 18, 2012 12:04:45 AM

What Cornellian said. Still trying to figure this one out.

Posted by: James Young | Aug 20, 2012 1:38:06 PM

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