Court of Appeal: Union Representing County Employees Entitled to Contact Information of Non-Union Members

To facilitate union organizing and collective bargaining, the union representing LA county employees wanted the county to disclose the names and addresses of employees who opted not to be represented by the union. These employees paid an "agency" fee, lower than union dues, but were not full fledged members.

Reviewing the case, the court of appeal decided that the county must disclose the information, but first must give the employees the right to "opt out" of the disclosure, similar to the law that applies in class action discovery:

Pioneer Electronics because there is no underlying presumption these non-member County employees would want their personal information disclosed, as might be the case in class-action litigation in which the disclosure might lead to affirmative relief or the vindication of statutory rights. Rather, the opposite is true. As in Valley Bank, employees would assume the personal information they provided to their employer as a condition of employment would not be further disseminated. While there may be a parallel between union representation and class representation, we cannot assume these non-member County employees would perceive a benefit to having their personal information disclosed to the Union. These County employees, whether by inaction or action, are not Union members, and they have a right not to join the Union. The non-members‟ failure to voluntarily provide their personal information to the Union might indicate their desire not to join the Union, indifference, or simply a desire not to be bothered at home by unwanted mail and telephone calls.
we hold non-member County employees are entitled to notice and an opportunity to object to the disclosure of their personal information. The privacy concerns here are more significant than in
The court rejected the union's argument it was entitled to the information regardless of the employees' objection.

The case is County of LA v. LA County Employee Relations Commission and the opinion is here.