Earlier this week Rep. Steve King (R-IA) reintroduced legislation that would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to allow employers to refuse to hire undercover union organizers, commonly known as “salts.” Specifically, the Truth in Employment Act of 2011 (H.R. 2153) would add the following provision to Section 8(a) of the NLRA: “Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as requiring an employer to employ any person who seeks or has sought employment with the employer in furtherance of other employment or agency status.”
According to the findings section of this bill, the practice of having professional union organizers and agents infiltrate a particular employer’s workplace – known as “salting” – “has evolved into an aggressive form of harassment not contemplated when the [NLRA] was enacted and threatens the balance of rights which is fundamental to our system of collective bargaining.” One of the stated purposes of this bill “is to alleviate pressure on employers to hire individuals who seek or gain employment in order to disrupt the workplace of the employer or otherwise inflict economic harm designed to put the employer out of business.”
Under current law, an employer cannot discriminate against a “salt” simply because of an alleged conflict of interest or due to “potential” violation of company policies. The employer does have the right to expect the salt to perform work in the normally expected manner. The extent of “salting” in use by unions is uncertain, as some salts identify their union affiliation and others do not.
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