Oregon’s Ministry of Truth Passes ‘Worker Freedom’ Law

Or is it Ministry of Plenty?

From Olympia Business Watch, the blog of the Association of Washington Business, “Oregon becomes first state to pass union ‘gag rule’ bill“:

Oregon became the first state in the nation to pass the national AFL-CIO’s model “Worker Freedom Act,” the gag rule bill known in Washington the last several sessions as the “Worker Privacy Act.”  It purports to rebalance federal labor law in unions’ favor by restricting employers’ ability to effectively communicate with employees about labor issues during organizing and bargaining campaigns.  The Oregonian reports here, with statehouse coverage here….[snip]

If the measure is signed, expect a court fight.  One of the reasons it took national unions so long to find a state willing to pass the bill is its extremely dubious legality. Especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court broadly striking down a similar California measure aimed at employer speech about unions, these proposals have been viewed as attempting to take away rights that employers clearly enjoy under federal labor law — something states are pre-empted from doing.

The bill is SB 519. It’s the latest in a series of anti-jobs, anti-employer measures the state’s leaders have embraced. As the Albany Democrat-Herald’s editor describes it:

The job situation in Oregon keeps going downhill, and the majority in the legislature keeps making things worse. How? By making life tougher for employers and refusing to encourage things that might generate more private-sector jobs, such as the BLM timber management plan.

Also, among other things, it has voted to raise taxes and fees, and it is poised to approve a field burning ban that will harm the grass-seed segment of Oregon agriculture.

In order to expand the state health service, the legislature will tax providers in a way that increases costs for all. It also has voted to punish employers if they insist on communicating with workers on labor issues.

Oregon now has the highest increase since last year in the welfare case load, the Wall Street Journal reports. That distinction goes along with Oregon’s second place, behind Michigan, in the rate of unemployment.

Just wondering if this is the change that Oregon voters last fall had in mind. (hh)

Oregon’s unemployment rate in May was 12.4 percent, the highest unemployment level in the state since November 1982. (November, 1982? Why, that was the month your correspondent moved out of Oregon to look for a job.)

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