George Leef reminds Forbes readers that employers have been dealing with impositions on their First Amendment rights for decades.

Over the last several years, Americans have seen a frightening rise in hostility to freedom of speech. Much of that has occurred on college campuses, where we find that many students, faculty members, and administrators do not want free speech, but only speech that they agree with.

That is not, however, a new phenomenon. Since the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935, employers have had to operate in a legal environment that’s hostile to free speech. They can find themselves in trouble for saying things that union advocates and their bureaucratic allies don’t like.

The NLRA doesn’t directly state that employers lose the protection of the First Amendment whenever they say something derogatory about unions, or something that might make their workers less inclined to favor unionization, but its provisions operate that way. While the law is ostensibly intended to allow workers free choice between union representation or not, it stacks the deck in favor of unions and collective bargaining (without which, workers are tendentiously declared not to have “full freedom of contract”).

Under the vociferously pro-union Obama National Labor Relations Board, the assault on the freedom of employers to oppose unionization has been relentless.