Labor & Employment

Union Asks NLRB to Determine If Grocery Chain's Policy on Social Media Use Violates Workers' Rights

Contending that a New York grocery chain’s restrictions on workers’ use of social media violates their collective bargaining rights, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 complained this week to the National Labor Relations Board.

It says Stop & Shop’s rules violate the National Labor Relations Act, Reuters reports. Among other provisions, the grocery’s new policy provides that employees can’t reveal their salary or other confidential information online on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and can’t disparage the company’s products or practices.

It also requires a worker to inform management if another employee of the store violates the new social media policy.

Although the rules apparently haven’t yet been enforced against any individual, “the mere maintenance of the policy violates the law, whether it’s enforced in discipline,” said Patricia McConnell of Meyer Suozzi English & Klein. She represents the union.

A spokeswoman for the store says its social media policy is intended just to require workers to apply “reasonable guidelines” to their posts. It also expressly says that the guidelines are trumped by the NLRA. “Stop & Shop does not wish to interfere with the private lives of its associates, even when they are online,” she said in an email to the news agency.

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