'You are likely breaking the law': AOC slams blog founder's threat to fire unionizing workers

Rebecca Morin

WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Tuesday criticized Dave Portnoy, the founder of sports blog Barstool Sports, after he threatened to fire any employee that was seeking advice on how to start a union.

 In a tweet Monday, Portnoy criticized employees at The Ringer, a sports and culture website, for trying to unionize. Portnoy linked to an article he previously wrote in 2015 when Gawker writers tried to unionize.

"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 to Portnoy's tweet on Tuesday, saying his inbox is open to Barstool writers who want advice on starting a union.

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"If you work for @barstoolsports and DM this man I will fire you on the spot," Portnoy replied to the tweet.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is illegal for companies to fire or discipline employees for being involved with or trying to create a union.

Ocasio-Cortez said that Portnoy is likely breaking the law with his tweet.

"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,'" she wrote in a tweet. "ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions."

The New York Department of Labor also pushed back against Portnoy's tweet.

"It is illegal to take any unfavorable action – including termination – against employees for union-related activities under the National Labor Relations Act," the department wrote on Twitter. "New York is a proud union state. We say no way, no how to intimidation, threats and union busting."

For his part, Portnoy responded to the New York congresswoman with a GIF.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: AOC slams Barstool Sports founder's threat to fire unionizing workers