Organized labor has never been too keen on the right to privacy – at least the privacy of workers who might be reluctant to join and need some persuading. About a thousand workers at the Cintas Corp. plant in Emmaus, Pa. have joined in a suit over what they say are overly aggressive organizing tactics by two major unions. The employees allege that for two years, during July 1, 2002-August 2, 2004, members of UNITE and the Teamsters copied down license plate numbers of workers’ parked cars at the plant, subsequently sending organizers or mailing information to their homes.
The employees are basing their complaint on a 1994 federal law, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, prohibiting the disclosure and use of personal information obtained through motor-vehicle records. Late last spring U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell had granted class-action status to Cintas workers in Pichler v. UNITE et al. The plaintiffs may be entitled to up to $2,500 in damages for each home visit or mailing. Cintas is a Cincinnati-based maker of and laundry service for work uniforms, and has some 350 facilities in the U.S. and Canada. This case looms large in organizing plans of UNITE HERE and the Teamsters, each a Change to Win Federation affiliate. (UPI, 12/27; post-gazette.com, 12/27).