‘Preemptive measure’ puts restrictions on union ‘mass picketing’

Unions may face new restrictions when they picket under a bill making its way through the legislature, according to The Tennessean.

House Bill 1688 would add a new misdemeanor of “mass picketing” that could be used to punish labor activists who block the entrance to a business or private residence. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jeremy Durham, and other supporters say the legislation would supplement laws already on the books that prohibit trespassing.

“People have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to prevent people from going to work,” said Durham, R-Franklin. He said Tennessee unions added 31,000 members in 2013, which represents the largest percentage increase among the states last year.

“I feel like if that’s such a growing part of our economy, we need to take preemptive measures to make sure our businesses have the rights and protections they should be entitled to.”

…The House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee approved the measure Wednesday, the first step toward passage.