Organized labor appears close to celebrating a big win in Connecticut as the House of Representatives last week passed legislation that will prohibit employers from holding mandatory meetings on unionization and other sensitive subjects. Senate bill 163, which passed the state Senate a few weeks ago, was approved by the House on a vote of 88-56 and sent to Governor Ned Lamont, who is expected to sign the bill into law. The legislation, which is entitled An Act Protecting Employee Freedom of Speech and Conscience, has long been a priority of labor unions and if signed by the Governor will modify the scope of constitutional rights protected to include “the right not to be required to listen to speech” among others. Further, it imposes liability on employers that violate employee constitutional rights by requiring them to listen to employer opinions on an expanded definition of “political matters”. You will recall we advised you just about a month ago of a similar push by NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo to have the NLRB ban captive audience meetings across the country. If signed into law, Connecticut will join Oregon as the only two states that ban “captive audience” meetings. On the flip side of legislative news in the Constitution State, kudos to the Connecticut Franchisee Association and its President (and Dunkin’ franchisee) Michael Batista on keeping the so-called Fair Workweek Act bottled up in the Judiciary Committee of the General Assembly, where it died with the end of the session on May 4. That bill (HB 5353) would have penalized certain employers (franchise owners included) for changing an employee’s work schedule within the prior 14 days or not giving an employee his/her full work schedule at least 14 days in advance.