The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been busier than ever — on August 25, 2011 they issued a final rule requiring private-sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to notify employees of their rights under the NLRA by posting an 11×17 inch notice. This new rule is scheduled to take effect on November 14, 2011 and will impact virtually all employers.
The content of the notice states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union and to bargain collectively with their employer. The notice also provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints. Very little of the notice is dedicated to informing employees of their rights to refrain from or not participate in the union-related activities described in the poster; the burden falls on the employers to inform their employees of their right to say “no” to unions or unionization and explain the advantages of remaining union free.
According to the NLRB website “The posting requirement applies to all private-sector employers (including labor unions) subject to the National Labor Relations Act, which excludes agricultural, railroad and airline employers. In response to comments received after the proposed rule was announced, the Board has agreed to exempt the U.S. Postal Service for the time being because of that organization’s unique rules under the Act. The rule applies to all employers subject to the Board’s jurisdiction, other than the U.S. Postal Service. The Board has chosen not to assert its jurisdiction over very small employers whose annual volume of business is not large enough to have a more than slight effect on interstate commerce. The jurisdictional standards are summarized in the rule.”
The NLRB is requiring employers to post the 11×17 inch notice where other workplace notices are typically posted and if personnel rules and policies are usually posted on an intranet or internet site employers must post the notice there as well.
On request the NLRB will provide copies of the notice at no cost to employers, or employers can download the notice from the NLRB website or purchase from an outside supplier.
The NLRB admits to lacking the authority to levy fines against employers who fail to comply with the new posting rule; however they have asserted that failure to post the notice could be treated as unfair labor practice under NLRA and they could also treat an employer’s failure to post the notice as evidence of an employer’s unlawful anti-union motive in the event of an unfair labor practice lawsuit.
Employers should consider available options for communicating with employees about their rights under the NLRA before the rule takes effect – such as the right to refrain from union organizing activity – and should seek legal counsel to ensure that any such communications comply with the law.
We would like to know what you think. Are the new rules, regulations and changes coming from the NLRB helping or hurting business and/or job growth? Please leave your reply below.
Availability, Inc. is a leader in professional office staffing in the St. Louis region. Our staff stays current on state and federal employment laws and issues through continuing education, employment law courses and membership in the American Staffing Association. Our clients rely on us to help them up-to-date on changing federal and state employment laws. This information is not intended nor should it be used as a substitute for legal advice or opinion.