The traditional “rule of solicitation” is that it was a violation of the NLRA for an employer to maintain overly broad rules restricting employee solicitations of fellow employees or the distribution of written materials. The rule on solicitation was issued, by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1945. The rule grants workers the right to speak with other workers about union and concerted activities during non-work time in either work or non-work areas.
2.) Why is it important whether e-mail is considered "solicitation" or "distribution"? May either of these forms of communication be banned in the work area?
The difference between solicitation and distribution is that distribution is a one way communication, whereas, solicitation causes a response from the recipient. This is important because distribution can be completely banned, since it must take place in a work area and solicitation is permitted in all areas.
3.) Describe the case reported by Leonard Page. What was that case about? What did Page conclude?
The case by Leonard Page was in regards to employees being disciplined for sending out e-mail messages about an upcoming NLRB representation election. Page concluded that e-mail resembles speech because it encourages or allows for a response from the receiver, thus e-mail is solicitation and must be allowed in all areas.
4.) What are some future issues involving e-mail systems and union activities?
Future issues involving e-mail include surveillance and break policies. Surveillance is when an employer uses a server to retain e-mail, and can easily record messages and read them on a periodic or instantaneous basis. Break policies will make it illegal to prevent employees from using small amounts of work time to send e-mail messages.