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New Law Would Ban Certain Speech In Connecticut Businesses

May 17, 2011 by  

New law would ban certain speech in Connecticut businessesBusiness owners and GOP lawmakers in Connecticut are concerned that a proposed bill would violate an employer's freedom-of-speech rights.

The "captive audience" law has passed the state's House of Representatives and will move on to the Senate. If approved and signed by the governor, Connecticut employers would not be allowed to force workers to sit through meetings involving talk of religion and politics, including union organizing, the Republican American reported.

Following a lengthy debate, House lawmakers approved the bill after 1 a.m. on May 12. The chamber passed the measure by a vote of 78-65, the news source reported.

Union groups support the proposal because it prevents bosses from holding sessions in which they attempt to intimidate their workers against joining the union. However, critics of the bill have argued that it is unnecessary legislation because Federal law already prohibits employers from forcing their personal views on staff members, according to NBC Connecticut.

"Even if you believe it's needed, could it be any more vaguely written and subject to misinterpretation?" asked House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (R-Norwalk), quoted by the media outlet.

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  • Pete

    The Union folks don’t realize when their employer goes out of business, they will no longer have an income. I mean income as in paychecks,benefits and very often retirement income as in pensions etc.
    You should be required to hear your employers side – I’ve sat in these meetings ! The good thing about them was I was getting PAID to LISTEN to my EMPLOYER’s side of the story.

    The Union on the other hand had their “meetings” in the employee’s cafeteria. That’s because they got to CHEAP to host a meeting off premises. Wow ! You really felt safe expressing your opinion – NOT !
    All I know is no one did a sweep for “bugs” in the cafeteria … say good-bye to your job if you say something wrong.

    In the end the Union Reps/Officers put on a great show – then they go out drinking/ partying with your employer (ie bosses, management, business reps like “Frick inc.” or Jackson & Lewis) ….

    Let the hostilities roll ! The Union and Business “reps” and “Specialists” plus the lawyers are making all the money … we all have to wake up and claim our own personal financial independence – without these parasites..

  • TIME

    It just keeps getting stranger by the day. But the MONKEY worthless eaters think this is a good idea.

    How bloody stupid people have become, self destructive mindless Idiots.

  • Sutekh

    Figuratively speaking, the unions are determined to shoot themselves in the foot. However, it appears that Obama wants to help them shoot all of the rest of us in the head first.

    The radical Left has somehow acquired “LaFarge Syndrome.” That is where, for the purpose of satisfactory revenge for wrongs (real or imagined,) the entire country has to be burned to the ground in a sort of scorched earth policy to deter an enemy that is only the Left itself.


  • Jay

    Well well, more dictatorial laws from the little dictator’s in the white house brown shirts! Next will be shouting “zeig heil”, I’m sure that would be music to their ears!!!

  • DanB

    While I dislike unions, it is not the union protection that worries me about this sort of law. That is a valid concern and a real issue. Is it just me, or is it the far reaching scope that is worrisome? There are businesses such as “Christian” bookstores (and other faiths as well). If government can first dictate that no employee is required to attend the meetings, how long before government dictates that you cannot have the meetings period? If government can first dictate that employees are not required to attend meetings that might include anything religious and so forth, how long before government says that a business cannot require attendance for your job as a condition of employment and pay? Some of those might seem like far stretches, but the more government regulates, the more government will regulate and on and on it goes. We are already seeing clues that government is getting to the point that government is making decisions for businesses instead of letting the businesses make decisions for themselves.

    • Brad


      Well said, this bill can be a double edged sword, if this bill is passed by the Connecticut senate and then signed by the governor, the law should include the government. My point being is, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and government employee’s shouldn’t be forced to attend meeting with political/religious/union messages. Just thinking out of the box here, too many politians of late have been trying to pass legislation along ideological lines instead of what’s good for the people and the country.

  • karolyn

    Don’t they have anything better to do?

  • David in MA

    Ever so slowly, one constitutional right at a time, America is becoming a communist/socialist/marxist/islamic state. and almost everyone is not taking notice of it.

    America, it is way past time to stand up and say, NO MORE! Even if it means going to the federal relocation camps or jail, they cannot lock us all up!

  • Richard

    Let’s set up a multimillion dollar agency to enforce this law.. Employers will required to hire monitors for every meeting to ensure that the law is not broken. Just thing of how many jobs (read votes) this will creat.

    • 45caliber


      And guess how often a union spokeman will tell the employees that they are NOT to go listen to the owner’s side of a union dispute.

  • Michelle

    Union groups support the proposal because it prevents bosses from holding sessions in which they attempt to intimidate their workers against joining the union. — And who protects the workers from the union thuggery and intimidation to join the union?????

    • 45caliber

      And who will protect the employees who attempt to hear the owner’s comments about not joining the union from the union thugs who don’t want them to listen?

      • smilee

        45caliber says:
        May 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

        After over forty years volunteering in organizing and voting in three Union elections myself I can tell you the Unions never intimidate or harass potential Voters for union votes, tick people off in a secret ballot election is the surest way to loose that election thus in reality it does not happen and I never seen it happen in over forty years. The last election I voted in was a decert election in which we had over time established close friendships with our non union counterparts some of which could and did provide us knowledge and documentation to as to what the company was in their meetings givings us lies and false information, once this became known they had to switch to a defense strategy but no one no longer believed them. We spent three hours a day in two meeting for over two weeks in addition to numerous out of town experts intimating us constantly bugging us all day long so much so that 5 of union members sought medical attention to help deal with them one was given a medical slip saying she could not work until after the election. In the end the Company lost this election by over seventy percent. Attorneys for the Union advised those who did not want to attend these meetings not to do so because it was legally insubordination and easily documented and they could be fired and the likely hood of successfully challenging that was almost nil. This three week period was pure hell for the employees. The company even had an attorney on site full time the last two weeks before the election. It is pure rhetoric that Unions twist arms in these elections as they are fully aware that that is the surest way to loose the election by the same token threats to your future job and future working condition are the methods employers use and some are even illegal but hard to prove. Union elections in my experience are little understood by the general public and most in my experience who speak the loudest against unions are those who have never been through an election and possess only what they have heard from rhetoric designed to produce hatred for unions.

        • Scott

          If employees freely choose to unionize, then that is their right, and they must own any consequences. Based on your side of the story, it sounds like the union was beneficial.
          For the record, I have never been in a union, nor dealt directly with a union, nor do I ever want to.
          That being said, my objection to unions is that typically there is not much choice for the average employee. We hear frequently about union membership being a prerequisite for employment (e.g. public sector, construction, etc.). Unions commonly support liberal causes (Democrat candidates, abortion uber alles, gay agenda, etc.), even if their members strongly object. Rarely are members allowed to withhold or redirect their union dues if the union is off in far-Left field.
          I still laugh when I see the modified bumper sticker: “Live Better. Work.”

          • smilee

            Scott says:
            May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm

            Not sure what you mean by beneficial, If you mean higher wages and benefits and better and less stressful working conditions, yes then I would say it is beneficial and in our case it was much better than the non union employees there. In wages the national average is $800.00 more per month more for union employees than non union employees so that I suppose is beneficial and I think non union employees would like that as well. Apparently you do not judging by your comment on the bumper sticker

            Unions are always by majority rule, you do not strike without majority consent, you do not except agreements except by majority consent, your officers stand for election and you vote for or against them in secret ballot elections, By law you can request monthly refunds of any share of your dues that is used for political expenditures but you do give up your right to vote, some do. The Unions have pacs that are funded by voluntary denotations and the bulk of union political expenditures come from those funds not union dues Stockholders have no say in corporate lobby or other political expenditures by them at all, and they are mostly for conservative political issues. You can sell your stocks if you do not like whom they spend it on but an employee can also go work in a non union shop as well if they do not like it. Having to be in the Union as a condition of employment is also by majority consent, if the majority want it out it will be taken out as employers do not object. This condition of employment is not by law but is by agreement between the union and employer and voted on by the union employees. It is a very democratic institution.

        • LindaT


  • James

    Without any quotes as to what the law requires, I hesitate to answer.

  • crystal

    Doesn’t stop meetings being held under “Cloak and Dagger.”

  • http://com i41

    As the marxist/communist democrats keep dreaming up more regulations, soon there will be higher unemployment rates. The regressive depressive dem smucks start on the east and west coast, and if morons keep electing socialist pukes, the feds will try to force all private employers to abide by this BS. Guess more companies will need to move to right to work states, and let the union thugs go pick s–t with the chickns!

  • Bitter Libertarian

    This is an absolute waste of time…I Manage a Business in CT and I can tell you I have NO love for this communist, parasitic statist attitude of the majority of the politicians, officials or people who live here. I’m surrounded by socialistic zombies.

    • 45caliber

      Yeah. When was the last time you held a meeting of your employees so you could talk about politics or religion instead of business?

  • 45caliber

    I have worked in business for over forty years now. And I’ve NEVER heard an employer have a meeting on politics or religion. EVER. Those subjects have no purpose in the business world unless you consider working for a church or the government as a business.

    So the ONLY goal of this bill is to disallow an employer to talk to his employees about union problems. And I would bet that the unions will take special note of the names of the employees who would go listen to the employer.

    • sylviam

      I think the main subject of this matter is the word, BAN, I don’t know about anyone else, but I do not think we should even consider the word BAN in anything without worrying about *BANNING* whatever else they want gone. Or are we even going to *BAN* talking, thinking, meeting, eating, etc,etc.
      The employer should have a list of company regulations and nothing more, but most certainly NO BANNING.

  • NyNita

    Religious and political meetings in private businesses should be against the law. I had to sit and listen to a major insurance company trying to brainwash its employees about politics – well, I chose to tune them out as I had my own agenda – to do everything in my power to ensure that the people I came in contact with knew what a mafia type company the insurance company was and still is. I do this every chance I get. I CANNOT STAND ANY EMPLOYER TRYING TO TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T VOTE FOR AND WHAT MY RELIGIOUS VIEWS SHOULD BE – THAT’S FOR ME AND ONLY ME TO DECIDE FOR MYSELF.

  • Bruce Porter Sr

    If I owned a business in CT right now, I’d be getting ready to move.

  • Jack

    From reading the comments it seems that almost all of you read a
    different article than I did. What the article is saying is that the
    proposal whould prevent employers from forcing employees from attending
    meetings on political and religious issues. What is wrong with that?

    While you speak of freedom, you don’t support it. You think it is fine
    that employees be forced by their employers to sit through meetings about political or religous issues. Wouldn’t freedom actually protect employees from being forced to attend things that were offensive to them?

    When employees are trying to form a union, the union cannot force the
    employees to attend a meeting to discuss unionizing. On the other companies can and do force employees to attend meetings as to why they shouldn’t unionize. How is that fair?

    It seems that most of you let your hatred of unions blind your thinking. I have never belonged to a union. They are neither all good nor all bad. They are like everything else, they have their good points and their bad.

    • smilee

      Jack says:
      May 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      You make too much sense for many here, one comment, in my post above I said we won that election by over 70% and the Union held two meetings a week and the highest attendance was 12% and we were informed by many that they would vote union but not attend the meetings as they feared retaliation from the company and the end result shows they did. Keep in mind this was a decert election so everyone knew everyone on both sides its different when you are trying to gain union representation. When I have volunteered in organizing places other than where I worked that was the biggest complaint we heard as well, they feared for their jobs in retaliation by the company even though this is against federal law, litigating it with appeals can take over four years so few will risk it but it works or there would be a lot more union employees today as many have told me they want that representation but the risks are to great. That’s the reality today

  • Socialist Worker

    As a union member I oppose any law restricting free speech. History has shown that these kind of laws are always reinterped to use against workers. If the company wants to spend its money paying us to sleep through a bible class its fine with me. If however they engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of religion than that is an issue. If they bring in their canidates to speak on company time than we want equal time for our own canidates. If they want to hold antiunion meetings we want equal time for union meetings. The only reason the legislature is considering this is rogue employers who engage in this type of stupidity make things difficult for the employers as a whole. We don’t want suppresion of speech we want equal time. A capitalist that can’t make a profit deserves to go out of business. No to bailouts and no to big to fail companies.

    • http://yahoo sharon

      If your a union member which are run by communists you better rally your fellow members and put a stop to what the ocmmunists are doing, because its the unions who are partly responsible for it, they are run by thugs and communists

  • http://yahoo sharon

    The dirty commies are at work again, Obama and his commie czars are going to steal your freedom of speech one way or the other, and those idiots are going to back him, because they are also commies.

  • NyNita

    No employer should force their employees to sit thru political or religious speeches/etc. – that is enslavement – employers forcing employees to sit thru political or religious speeches/meetings/etc. are nothing more than dictators who are trying to enslave their employees to believe as they believe – the employees have their rights to not attend political or religious meetings/speeches during work hours of said political or religious meetings/speeches go against the employees’ belief system.


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