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Bill Would Increase Unions Access To Public Employees At Work

The Assembly Labor Committee voted to advance the legislation.

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would ensure that union representatives have greater access to the public employees they represent.

What's called the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act would allow unions to hold meetings during lunch and other breaks during the workday to look into issues and grievances.

Eric Richard with the state AFL-CIO says it would also mean that union representatives could meet with newly-hired employees without docking their pay.

“We just want to make sure that we have free access to our members, and we want to have convenient access to our members to make sure they understand the benefits of unionization.”

Michael Vrancik with the New Jersey School Boards Association says public employers are already barred from interfering as unions recruit members.

“This idea of expanding the access and creating almost unfettered access to school facilities in particular at this time when everybody has all kinds of security concerns, this creates a potentially disruptive process.”

John Donnadio with the New Jersey Association of Counties says the legislation could create taxpayer-funded data mining that could violate privacy and First Amendment rights.

"Because it allows the employee representative organization to get date of birth information, address, cellphone number before the employee signs on to becoming a member of the union."

Michael Cerra with the New Jersey League of Municipalities says the measure’s concerns should be left to the collective bargaining process.

"This will be time out of workday funded by taxpayers. There will be impact. The bill places requirements on public employers. It's new mandates. It's unfunded mandates."