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Mississippi Bills Aim to Eliminate Union Privileges

Yesterday, the Mississippi Senate passed three bills that rein in union privilege. First, Senate Bill 2473, the Prohibition Against Employer Intimidation Act, which takes away one of unions' most common organizing tactics, the "corporate campaign," which I describe in an issue of Labor Watch as a "union organizing strategy that uses an arsenal of legal, political, and public relations attacks to wear down a company’s resistance to unionization. These tactics are intended to impose financial and legal liabilities on the target company, sully its reputation with its suppliers, shareholders and customers, and hurt its standing in the community by subjecting corporate officers to personal embarrassment." Specifically, SB 2437 proposes unions shall not be able to threaten or coerce an employer to gain concessions or a thing of value, such as a neutrality agreement, card-check or collective bargaining recognition. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of a union corporate campaign, the ultimate goal of which is to subvert the secret-ballot process and to organize employers through a card-check election. Better yet, if passed, SB 2437 would award prevailing plaintiffs with treble damages in regard to any civil action filed under the Prohibition Against Employer Intimidation Act. Second, SB 2653, makes mass union picketing/demonstrations illegal if it blocks the entrance of a business and does not allow individuals to freely enter and leave. Any individual guilty of violating this Act will be fined no more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than six months. Third, SB 2797, Mississippi Employment Fairness Act, bans Project Labor Agreements, which force construction companies bidding on public works projects to use union labor. On average, government construction operating under a PLA cost taxpayers 12 to 18 percent more than projects that do not use only union labor. Now more than ever, states need to follow the example of Mississippi to protect worker choice and business, especially with federal labor agencies that continue to act in the interest of Big Labor.