Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSecurity policy expert: Defense industry donations let lawmakers 'ignore public opinion' Do progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday ripped the founder of the Barstool Sports blog for threatening to fire workers attempting to unionize, warning that he is “likely breaking the law and can be sued.”
The New York Democrat took to Twitter after Dave Portnoy threatened to fire workers “on the spot” if they took steps to form a union.
“If you’re a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize, you are likely breaking the law &can be sued, in your words, “on the spot,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions.”
She directed workers interested in unionizing to look into the National Labor Review Board and the AFL-CIO.
Portnoy responded by challenging the congresswoman to a debate: “Welcome to the thunder dome.”
Barstool Sports is based in New York City, and the New York State Department of Labor noted in a tweet that it is illegal to retaliate against employee for union-related activities under the National Labor Relations Act.
“New York is a proud union state. We say no way, no how to intimidation, threats and union busting,” the agency wrote on Twitter in response to Portnoy’s tweets.
It is illegal to take any unfavorable action – including termination – against employees for union-related activities under the National Labor Relations Act.— NYS Dept of Labor (@NYSLabor) August 13, 2019
New York is a proud union state. We say no way, no how to intimidation, threats and union busting. https://t.co/r71he7K2kl
Portnoy was criticized on Monday after knocking employees at The Ringer, a sports and culture website, for attempting to unionize.
He linked back to an article he wrote for his website in 2015 about Gawker writers trying to do the same.
"I hope and I pray that Barstool employees try to unionize," he wrote in the 2015 post. "I can’t tell you how much I want them to unionize. Just so I can smash their little union to smithereens. Nothing would please me more than to break it into a million little pieces."
Rafi Letzter, a staff writer for Live Science, replied saying that his direct messages inbox was open if any current Barstool writers wanted advice on the “unionization process, how litter power your boss has to stop you, and how you can leverage that power to make your life better.”
Portnoy responded by saying he would fire any of his employees “on the spot” if they reached out to Letzer.
Lawyer Matt Weir on Twitter offered to help any Barstool employees running into issues unionizing, pro bono.
Portnoy doubled down and said he would not only fire employees who hired the attorney, but sue for damages and back wages.
Anybody who hires this lawyer will be fired immediately and I will personally sue you for damages and back wages. https://t.co/wxg3odCWUk— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 13, 2019
The remarks trended on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon and Portnoy promoted T-shirt sales with a picture of his face reading “union buster.”
Now on sale. pic.twitter.com/zy03qEUaqz— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 13, 2019