Friday, August 12, 2005

brothers all

Now let me get this straight. The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) says that it's ok for an employer to restrict the social activities of workers when they are off the clock, forbidding them to "fraternize".

Fraternize apparently, from the way the NLRB accepts the employers definition, means to form a brotherhood, or act as if one exists among a group of people.

So suddently if you get a job the company can tell you who you can be freindly with off site.

I guess that means no invites to baby or bridal showers at the local watering hole at lunch. No formal invitations to the off site retirement party Hey maybe it means no off site lunching with the girls, no happy hour at TGIFriday's for a drink with "the guys" after a long week at work. Does it also include no car pool? How about no comapny family picnic or trip to the ball park in the summer with the company discount for large groups?

I would think that executives would be greatly uspet by this ruling. After all, don't all those CEO's and CFO's and Presidents and VP's play golf at the club together to get to know one another? You know, they take the measure of the man by the way he plays the game? Wouldn't that be fraternizing?

How about those little gatherings at the boss's house, or those quaint cook outs so the execs can all cozy up to one another? What about those dinners and a play (show, opera) where the exec and his wife is compared to other execs and wife combos? Is that fraternizing? Or is that a brotherhood of the powerful?

Ok, brotherhood, that's not allowed is it. Why I wonder? Could the word brotherhood bring on unpleasant memories of a group of men/women banded together as brothers for a common goal, like improved work standards and better pay....hum, could they mean a brotherhood like the teamsters? You know a UNION?

I just want to see them make this one stick. If the paid by the hour employees can't fraternize then I don't think the management can either. Company rules are after all company rules, and if they don't apply across the board one might think they were discriminatory. Discriminatory? Now what in heavens name would the NLRB make of that?

I posted a message to Lou Dobbs pointing him to the NLRB webpage about this. We'll see if he does anything about it.

I was also thinking about it as I was reading e-mail from the company I contract with-- one of the e-mails was asking for staff to volunteer for a golf team to participate in a local charity golf tournament. Now wouldn't that be the quintessential fraternization? Company-sponsored team, golf, charity-- has all the hallmarks! LOL
Amazing, simply amazing.

The various companies I've worked for over the years have always taken the stand that what we do in our own time is our own business, unless it's illegal (that was when I worked for a gov't subcontractor and illegalities could have affected my security clearance).

For employers to now tell me that I can't be friends with co-workers outside of work ....

...that's just wrong!
Yeah I find it amazing too. At my current place of employment the only restriction on our off duty activities is that we can be fired if it'll illegal. I can see their point.
But the NLRB now has given employers the right to do much more than that.
I just don't know what else is in store for the common worker anymore.
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