Employers’ personnel files hold lots of private information about employees, including their Social Security numbers and those of their next of kin. If identity thieves gain access to employees’ names along with their personal information, they can use what they’ve stolen to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, and create false work documents.
Consequently, employers across the country are legally required to maintain the confidentiality of employee Social Security numbers. Employers who do not take care to restrict access to employee personnel files to parties who have legitimate reasons to require it, such as the employees themselves, their managers, and HR personnel, may face substantial fines and other penalties.
Unfortunately, at least one state, Illinois, makes a special exception regarding the personal information of state and local public servants, including teachers. Under state law, civil servants who are subject to union monopoly bargaining have little ability to keep their personal information private.
Union officials who have been granted “exclusive” bargaining privileges over a group of public employees may legally demand that the employer hand the personal information of all the employees under their control, including union members and nonmembers alike.
In fact, as the short commentary linked below points out, state officers and Service Employees International Union bosses have actually cut deals “that require the state to provide the union with the security numbers of the personal assistants and childcare providers” over whom the SEIU hierarchy wields monopoly-bargaining power.
Recently, state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) introduced H.B.660, a modest reform that would simply have prohibited Illinois public employers from providing union bosses with an employee’s Social Security number without first getting his or her permission.
But on February 23, H.B.660 was defeated in the House Labor & Commerce Committee as 13 union-label representatives voted against sending the measure to the chamber floor.
Apparently, for a majority of the politicians in the Illinois General Assembly today, perpetuating and expanding Big Labor’s legal power over employees is more important than safeguarding those employees’ privacy rights!