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On June 23, Rep. Rick W. Allen, R-Ga., a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, reintroduced H.R. 4320, the Truth in Employment Act, in the 118th Congress to shield employers from deceptive union harassment.

This legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act to protect small businesses and their employees from a coercive tactic used by large unions known as “salting,” which makes small businesses targets of harassment campaigns designed to increase forced unionization.

“Big labor and union bosses will stop at nothing to coerce more American workers into unionization, even if it means targeting small businesses in need of new employees,” said Rep. Allen in a statement introducing the bill. “The deceptive practice called ‘salting’ is becoming more common across the country and is nothing more than a desperate attempt to strongarm nonunion employers into unionizing their workforce without a vote—or forcing them to shut their doors. The Truth in Employment Act is necessary to ensure employers are not required to hire an employee who enters the hiring process for the purpose of unionizing a workplace or to put the nonunion company out of business. Access to a reliable workforce is often the No. 1 issue facing employers, and this legislation is an important step to make certain job creators are free to use their valuable time and resources to hire workers who actually want to work.”

“ABC supports Rep. Allen’s Truth in Employment Act, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act to make it clear that an employer is not required to hire any person who seeks a job primarily to organize employees or put nonunion companies out of business—or both,” said Kristen Swearingen, vice president of legislative & political affairs at Associated Builders and Contractors. “This commonsense bill would alleviate the legal pressures imposed on employers to hire individuals who seek or gain employment in order to disrupt the workplace of the employer or otherwise inflict economic harm designed to put the employer out of business. This change would not infringe on any rights or protections otherwise afforded to employees under the NLRA. Simply put, given the skilled workforce shortage, job creators should not be forced to use precious time and resources to hire employees who do not intend to actually work.”

According to Rep. Allen, salting applicants often openly identify as union organizers during the job hiring process, but at this stage, it is still too late. Employers are caught in a multistep process:

  • If the employer hires the union job applicant, it gives the union the opportunity to begin a union election process or call for union recognition, even without a vote; OR
  • If the employer does not hire the union job applicant, or when an employer attempts to fire a union applicant who turns out to be a disruptive employee with the goal of unionizing from the inside, the union activist can file a claim citing an "unfair labor practice" charge on the employer.

Once a claim is filed, employers can either enter into an NLRB investigation or settle and allow unionization of a work site.