The Connecticut General Assembly is back at work so it’s time to take a quick peek to see what’s percolating.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association highlighted the “captive audience” bill as bill that is resurfacing, even though the Attorney General has previously raised doubts about the constitutionality of it. The bill would restrict communications by the employer in general workplace meetings. The CBIA highlighted the bill’s flaws:
The proposal usually shuts down much of what an employer can talk about with their employees in regular workplace meetings. For example, the last captive audience proposal restricted “political” discussions—with “politics” so broadly defined that almost any topic would have been considered off-limits. This would include issues critical to the effective management and operation of a business.
And under the threat of severe legal and financial penalties, an employer’s ability to communicate—particularly in opposition to the potential unionization of the workforce–would be effectively silenced.
Before this flawed concept goes any further, lawmakers should heed the attorney general’s warnings.
The Labor & Public Employee Committee at the legislature maintains a bill record bill that lists potential bills up for consideration. As the session progresses, this list gets more refined.
Among the early “Proposed Senate Bills” under consideration:
- Proposed Senate Bill 56, which would increase minimum wage by 75 cents in January 2014 and another 75 cents in January 2015;
- Bills that would either eliminate or expand paid sick leave (Proposed Senate Bills 179 and 198);
- Proposed Senate Bill 159, which would ”prevent current or potential employers from requesting or requiring that employees or potential employees provide passwords to their personal accounts as a condition of their employment.”
On the House side, a few “Proposed House Bills” are starting to surface too including:
- Proposed House Bill 5236, which would create an “Employer’s Bill of Rights”. (Somewhere, fellow blogger Jon Hyman — whose new book is entitled “Employer’s Bill of Rights” – is smiling.) Given the majority that the Democrats have in both the House and the Senate, though, it is unlikely this concept will go very far.
- Multiple bills that would amend the “prevailing wages” rules and also consider a “standard wage” as well.
The next meeting of the Committee is set for January 29th, where these concepts — and others, including teaching about the history of the labor movement — will be discussed. No public hearings have yet been posted publicly.