NLRB Postpones Posting Requirement

Last month I blogged that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) had issued a final rule requiring companies to post in the workplace notices to employees about their rights to join a union.  Under the rule, such notice was to be posted by November 14, 2011.

Given the coverage scope and content of the posting requirement, several legal actions seeking to enjoin enforcement of the rule were promptly instituted.  Such suits (brought by the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Right to Work Foundation and the National Federation of Independent Business) challenge, in part, the NLRB’s statutory authority to implement such far reaching rules.  In connection with the suits, National Federation of Independent Business President and CEO, Dan Danner, declared that “[t]he NLRB has strayed from its role as an impartial arbiter to instead become just an extension of labor unions,” and that “[t]his new atmosphere has created a chilling effect on businesses of all sizes.”  Executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, Robin Conrad, flatly declares that the notice requirement is contrary to the First Amendment, in that it requires employers “to use their own resources to post the NLRB’s pro-union message on the company’s own property.”

Not surprisingly, the NLRB’s actions have also stoked the ire of the House which promptly introduced several bills designed to reign in the NLRB’s mandates (see H.R. 2833 & H.R. 2854).  Rep. Benjamin Quayle (R-AZ) who introduced “The Employee Workplace Freedom Act” (a bill designed to repeal the NLRB’s posting requirement) stated in a press release that:

“Over the past two and a half years, American businesses—both small and large—have dealt with an onslaught of new mandates, regulations and taxes. The National Labor Relations Board piled on another rule last week when it announced that employers must display 11 by 17 inch signs outlining the 76-year-old National Labor Relations Act. This needless requirement— which falls outside the NLRB’s statutory authority — opens the door for legal action by the NLRB against companies that don’t comply.”

In the wake of the pending lawsuits and House actions, the NLBR announced that it had postponed the implementation date for its new notice-posting rule by more than two months to January 31, 2012.  According to the NLRB, the postponement was “in order to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses” and “was made in the interest of ensuring broad voluntary compliance.”  The NLRB also stated that “[n]o other changes in the rule, or in the form or content of the notice, will be made.”

Clearly, the NLRB’s agenda has come head to head with the interests of the business community and conservative laissez faire values.  Given the pending lawsuits and legislative hostility towards the NLRB’s posting mandate, the new January 31, 2012 deadline may be extended out again.  Employer’s should keep an eye on this NLRB mandate as the current January 31st deadline approaches to make sure that they are prepared, if and when, the rule comes into effect.

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