The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has postponed by 10 weeks the implementation of a new rule that will require employers to notify workers of their right to join a union.
The NLRB said the postponement is intended to “allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses.” The rule was scheduled to take effect on November 14, but will now become policy on January 31, 2012.
“The decision to extend the rollout period followed queries from businesses and trade organizations indicating uncertainty about which businesses fall under the Board’s jurisdiction, and was made in the interest of ensuring broad voluntary compliance. No other changes in the rule, or in the form or content of the notice, will be made,” the agency said in a statement on its Web site.
The rule will require private-sector employers whose workplaces fall under the National Labor Relations Act to post an employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. Also, employers who customarily post notices to employees regarding personnel rules or policies on an Internet or Intranet site will be required to post the union notice on those sites.
The notice, which is similar to one required by the U.S. Department of Labor for federal contractors, 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 provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts has opposed the notification rule, which has drawn legal challenges from groups such as the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers. Those groups claimed this week that their court challenges are the real reason NLRB delayed the rule.
The rule would treat an employer's failure to post the statement of rights under the National Labor Relations Act as an unfair labor practice. The threat of an unfair labor practice charge is particularly troubling for employers since two members of the NLRB advocate using a 1969 court decision to resolve those charges by granting a union the right to represent workers without an election.
“AIM member employers are not pleased by the prospect of being forced to post an invitation to workers to join a union,” said Brian Gilmore, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at AIM.