WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Labor Relations Board says employees can use their company email accounts for union organizing and other workplace-related purposes, if they do it on their own time.

WASHINGTON (AP) The National Labor Relations Board says employees can use their company email accounts for union organizing and other workplace-related purposes, if they do it on their own time.

The ruling could give unions a powerful organizing weapon.

Once an employer gives an employee access to the company email system, then the business cannot restrict what the employee emails, so long as it is generally job-related and isn't during working hours, the NLRB ruled.

The ruling says that "the use of email as a common form of workplace communications has expanded dramatically in recent years."

The board voted 3-2 for the ruling, with three Democrats voting "yes" and two Republican members voting "no."