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Curran's executive order bars release of personal employee data

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, in Mineola on

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, in Mineola on Wednesday, displays the executive order she signed that will protect the personal information of public employees. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed an executive order Wednesday barring county workers from releasing personal employee data, a measure aimed at preventing outside groups from “luring” workers from unions after a Supreme Court ruling in June that labor leaders said could weaken union membership.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a 1977 law that requires nonunion employees to pay fees to the union that represents their interests during collective bargaining negotiations. The decision in Janus v. AFSCME said unions could not collect fees from workers without their consent.

Curran’s order bars the release of public employees’ home addresses, personal cell or telephone numbers, as well as personal email addresses. However, the executive order does not apply to “work-related publicly available information,” such as an employee’s title, salary and dates of employment.

The executive order is aimed at shielding employees from anti-union groups’ efforts at “dividing and conquering, from poaching workers, luring them away from unions .  .  . with the higher aim of weakening the unions,” Curran, a Democrat, said during a news conference outside a county building in Mineola.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, all Democrats, have signed similar executive orders since the Janus decision.

County Comptroller Jack Schnirman said employees “should be able to live and work in an environment free of harassment from those who wish to tear apart the bonds of labor.”

John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, called the executive order an “important step in protecting the rights of working men and women of the labor movement.”

Conservative groups have dismissed the executive order, noting that under the state’s Freedom of Information law, workers’ home addresses and personal phone numbers cannot be disclosed.

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