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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Court: employers can use state funds to fight unions

Would a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling lead to an increase of union-busting in Minnesota?

The decision, Chamber of Commerce of the United States et al. v. Brown et al., says that states may no longer restrict employers’ rights to communicate with their employees about unionization. The court found the state of California had wrongfully denied employers the right to curtail and counteract some union organizing actions.

The Supreme Court rejected California's attempt to encourage unionization through regulatory spending restrictions. The court's decision invalidated key provisions of California AB 1889, enacted in 2000.

The Court determined that the purpose of AB 1889 was to silence employer speech about unions by subjecting them to segregated accounting systems, increased recordkeeping requirements, treble damages, private rights of actions and attorneys fees.

The decision could impact a Minnesota state law which, like the invalidated California statute, restricts state funds from being used by employers.

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