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Season 3, Episode 94

Connecticut House passes captive audience bill for workers rights

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Guest Name:

Ed Hawthorne

Guest Website:

https://www.ctaflcio.org

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Connecticut AFL-CIO President Ed Hawthorne joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed bipartisan legislation passed by the Connecticut House of Representatives to give workers the right to leave captive audience meetings.

Hawthorne is also Vice-President of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 269.

Captive audience meetings are mandatory meetings held during work hours to pressure employees to support political candidates or vote against forming a union. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has asked the NLRB to consider whether captive audience meetings are a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The captive audience bill is a priority for the Connecticut AFL-CIO, Hawthorne said. In support of the bill, the federation compiled interviews with workers who had been negatively impacted by captive audience meetings and posted them on its website. While those against the legislation claim it prevents free speech, Hawthorne stressed the bill would merely give workers the option not to attend these meetings. It would still allow companies to say whatever they wanted, he added. 

Hawthorne also spoke about pandemic pay for essential workers, which was approved by the Connecticut state legislature. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how vital essential workers are to keeping America safe, and their efforts need to be recognized and rewarded, he said. Proponents of the legislation originally asked for $750 million in order to give full-time workers $2,000 each and part-time workers $1,000 each. By the time the bill was passed, the amount was whittled down to $30 million to provide only essential workers in the private sector with one-time payments of $1,000, he said.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more about these topics.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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