The firestorm surrounding the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") labors on - pun intended. Between its rulings on employee use of social media and its promulgation of rules that speed up elections and require employers to post notices, the NLRB spent much of 2011 in the limelight. That trend appears to be continuing in the new year.
Entries in Union Avoidance (6)
The Pitfalls of Persuasion: Proposed Rule Changes May Limit Employer's Access to Legal Advice During Union Campaigns
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) is currently considering significant changes to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”) that may discourage some employers from seeking legal advice, or even prevent attorneys from providing legal services in some situations. Specifically, the proposed changes would eliminate the “advice” exception to the so-called “persuader rule.” The changes have not yet taken effect, and some legal organizations, inlcuding the American Bar Association, have come out against the DOL's proposed changes.
Last month, we sent out an alert notifying you about the NLRB’s new notice posting rule. That rule required most employers to post notices on or before November 14, 2011, informing employees of their rights to organize, join, or assist unions. On October 5, the NLRB – in a surprising move – announced that it was pushing back the deadline for employers to post the notice. The new deadline is January 31, 2012.
Why the delay? Well, according to the NLRB the delay will “allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses.” The NLRB did not announce any specific plans for “enhanced education” or “outreach to employers.” Additionally, there are no changes to the form or contents of the notice, and employers still must post in areas where they customarily post employee notices.
It is also worth noting that there are currently three (3) pending lawsuits challenging, among other things, the NLRB’s authority to issue the notice posting rule. Although the NLRB’s announcement did not mention these lawsuits as a factor, the delay will give judges in those cases more time to evaluate the issues and make rulings. If the plaintiffs in those cases prevail, the notice posting rule could be blocked before taking effect.
In December 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) proposed a rule that would require most employers to post notices informing their employees of their rights under the NLRA. The NLRB recently finalized this so-called “notice posting rule” and employers subject to the NLRA must post the notice – in places where they typically post other workplace notices – by November 14, 2011. Additionally, if an employer typically posts employee notices regarding personnel rules or policies on an intranet or internet site, it will be required to post the NLRB’s notice on those sites as well. A copy of the notice may be obtained on the NLRB’s web-site (http://www.nlrb.gov/).
The notice itself states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It also provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.
The notice posting rule is one of several new rules handed down by the NLRB in the last year, all of which encourage (and in some cases make it easier for) employees to form and join unions.