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Washington State Bans Captive Audience Meetings

Late last month, workers in Washington State won a major victory against employers who use anti-union tactics. Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed SB 5778—the Employee Free Choice Act—into law, cementing protections for workers, including their right to opt out of mandatory anti-union meetings, a common tactic employers use to dissuade workers from forming or joining a union. This law also bans companies from forcing workers to attend meetings with religious themes.

CWA members lobbied for increased worker protections during the WA State Labor Council's legislative conference in late January. According to CWA/WashTech Local 37083 Executive Vice President Carissa Hahn, several allies answered the call to help pass this legislation, including State Representatives Liz Berry (D), Mary Fosse (D), Cindy Ryu (D), and Beth Doglio (D). State Senator Derek Stanford (D), who is a member of TNG-CWA Local 37083, supported the bill proposed by his colleague State Senator Karen Keiser (D). The Employee Free Choice Act will be Senator Keiser’s final bill before she retires.

“Nothing in this bill prevents an employer from saying what they want to say, it just doesn’t require an employee to listen,” Sen. Keiser said to the Washington State Standard.