Aug 25, 2011 - 4:21pm

NLRB Finalizes Notice Requirement in Race Against the Clock


Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division

Workers would flock to join unions, if only they knew they existed.  This seems to be the thinking behind today’s announcement from the National Labor Relations Board that it will now require virtually all private sector employers to post notices telling workers they have the right to join a union.  (Never mind that polling consistently shows only about 10% of non-unionized workers have an interest in a union.)  This new rule goes into effect on November 14, 2011.  A copy is available here.

Under this new rule employers will have to post the notice about unions where they customarily post other notices, such as those related to minimum wage laws or OSHA requirements.  In addition, if an employer maintains an internet or intranet site on which they post notices, an electronic version of the union rights poster must be included there as well.

While this is clearly a favor to organized labor, the rule could have been worse.  When the NLRB first floated the idea, it considered requiring employers to send notices about union rights via e-mail, voice mail, twitter, or any other electronic communications vehicle they used to communicate with workers.  Fortunately that idea was dropped, perhaps because of the more than 6,500 comments sent to the agency (including those sent by the U.S. Chamber)--the majority of which opposed the rule. 

A requirement to post a notice may in itself not seem that significant, however, the fact that the Board completed action on a final rule at all is an important development.  It demonstrates the NLRB’s seriousness with regard to using the Administrative Procedure Act to effect policy change, and other rules in the works, such as quickie elections or off-site electronic voting, may be next.  Obviously the Board is moving quickly to get as much done as possible before it no longer has a quorum at the end of the year.  Time is already running short as Chairwoman Liebman’s term ends this week. The balance of 2011 will be very interesting on the labor front, and the business community should be on guard for a flurry of new job-killing regulations and edicts from the NLRB.

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About the Author

Glenn Spencer Headshot
Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division

Glenn Spencer is senior vice president of the Employment Policy division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.