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1 Jun 2013

Intl. Trade Union Confederation

[PDF] Free Speech and Freedom of Association: Finding the Balance - A Position Paper

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Delta Air Lines and Deutsche Telekom to respond to this paper; see responses below.] The fundamental right to freedom of association guarantees that workers are able to form and join trade unions free from any interference from employers and governments...[The] International Organisation of Employers (IOE) is now attempting to undermine that principle by arguing, in the name of freedom of expression, that anti-union campaigns meant to discourage workers from forming or joining a union are consistent with international standards...[and] that anti-union campaigns may be an obligation of employers...[The] IOE relies heavily on a contorted interpretation of a 2010 decision by the ILO...concerning Delta Airlines’ campaign to encourage workers to “shred” their union election ballots...[The] IOE had previously conceded that U.S.-style anti-union campaigns violate the right to freedom of association as established by the ILO. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recognizes that employers and workers have a right to express themselves; however,...[the] limit must be drawn...[at] interference with the right to association...[V]itriolic anti-union campaigns...by U.S.-based employers cross that line...[Labour] laws like those found in the U.S. are outliers...permitting anti-union speech that is illegal (and unthinkable) elsewhere... [Includes case study on Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile (part of Deutsche Telekom). Also refers to Littler Mendelson, Pelephone (part of Bezeq)]