Barstool Sports co-founder David Portnoy has settled with the National Labor Relations Board over a series of tweets in August of last year in which he threatened to fire employees attempting to unionize. The informal settlement requires Portnoy to delete the tweets, and remove any anti-union material created by the company.
Portnoy threatened to fire employees "on the spot" if they contacted a reporter to talk about unionization, and shared a 2015 article where he said he would "smash" any employee union effort, among other threatening tweets.
The informal settlement does not require Barstool to admit fault, but does require it to notify employees of the right to unionize through email and "physical postings."
According to the settlement, Barstool attorney David A. Rosenfeld issued a number of objections to the original settlement. One objection contended that Portnoy should be required to notify employees that they can unionize "by tweets." Rosenfeld wrote that it would be appropriate because it is the "same manner the unlawful conduct was communicated and that if President Trump can use Twitter so should (Portnoy)."
The National Labor Relations Board responded: "The posting and emailing of the Notice provide an adequate remedy."
Portnoy's anti-union tirade drew intense criticism. Among the most vocal critics was New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"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 tweeted in August. In response, Portnoy wrote "Welcome to thunder dome. Debate me."
When news of the settlement broke, the representative again took to Twitter. "Remember when we put the CEO of Barstool Sports on notice about tweeting threats to intimidate his workers from unionizing? Looks like he just had to settle with the NLRB over his actions. Reminder: Threatening workers who want to unionize is illegal."