NLRB Proposes Rule Requiring Employers to Post Notice Advising Employees of Their Right to Be Represented by a Union

On December 22, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule that will require all private sector employers to post an 11 inch by 17 inch notice in their workplaces providing detailed information to employees about their rights to organize or join a union. Employers are familiar with these types of notices because they are required by other federal employment laws such as Title VII and the Fair Labor Standards Act. The NLRB asserts that it has the right to require such a poster even though the National Labor Relations Act does not, like other federal labor and employment laws, include a posting requirement. In addition to posting in the workplace, employers who communicate notices to employees via e-mail or intranet postings will be required to do so regarding this notice as well.

The proposed posting will tell employees that they have the legal right to organize or join unions to negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions with their employers, to take joint action with other employees and to talk among themselves or with a union about working conditions and wages with other employees. Like the law, the posting also tells employees that they have the right to refrain from union organizing. It will also advise employees that certain employer actions in response to union organizing are against the law, including firing, demoting or transferring employees who try to organize or join a union. The posting will give employees information about how to contact the NLRB to complain of employer and union actions that they believe are not lawful.

Members of the public, including employers, have sixty days to comment on the NLRB’s proposed regulation. It is expected that the NLRB will then implement the new rule. The language in the proposed posting is identical to language that the U.S. Department of Labor requires be posted by employers who are federal contractors. Once the rule becomes effective, employers who fail to post may be found to have committed an unfair labor practice. In addition, the NLRB is also asserting in the rulemaking notice that it will have the right to waive/postpone the normal six-month period that employees have to file charges with the NLRB claiming violations of the labor laws when employers fail to post the notice.

For More Information

For more information about this proposed new regulation and what you, as an employer, can do to proactively communicate with your employees about the topic of union organizing, contact the Stevens & Lee labor and employment attorney with whom you regularly speak or you may contact Susan R. Friedman at 717.399.6625, Gary D. Melchionni at 717.399.6628, or Joseph P. Hofmann 717.399.6643.