On Tuesday, President Obama's union-controlled National Labor Relations Board helped to increase the President's anti-business bonafides by issuing a rather shocking press release that has the business community all abuzz.
The NLRB, the agency that governs private-sector, union-employer relations would like all employers, large and small, under its jurisdiction to post notices for employees that inform them of their rights to unionize.
Following the 60-day public comment period (see below), if the rule is adopted, an employer's failure to post the NLRB notice would constitute an unfair labor practice charge.
According to the press release [in PDF]:
The National Labor Relations Board has submitted to the Proposed Rulemaking, which provides for a 60-day comment period. The rule would require employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
As the Notice states, the Board "believes that many employees protected by the NLRA are unaware of their rights under the statute. The intended effects of this action are to increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and to promote statutory compliance by employers and unions." [Emphasis added.]
Now, the proposed notice posting does go a bit further in that the NLRB also wants employers who communicate primarily by e-mail or other electronic means, to post the notice electronically as well. In other words, employers who e-mail their employees will also have to e-mail out the NLRB's notice to those employees.
Naturally, employers are angry and upset as the NLRB's actions are intended to encourage more employees to unionize which is something most employers know has a detrimental impact on business. As the National Association of Manufacturers' blog, the Shopfloor, notes:
We’ve long been troubled by and have predicted the NLRB’s intention to reinterpret U.S. labor law outside of Congress’ purview in order to expand union membership. Today’s announcement is certainly evidence that the board is well under way.
Earlier this year, federal contractors were required to post notices in their workplaces as well. However, this rule did not apply to employers that do not do business with the federal government. [You can view the actual posting for federal contractors here.]
Clearly, the union-controlled NLRB has given up any attempt to maintain a neutral facade and, apparently, could care less that every action like this creates another disincentive for employers to create jobs. However, the actual ramifications on employers may be negligible for those who are engaged with their employees. Moreover, as most employees ignore the bulleting boards in their workplaces, for those employees that are truly desirous of a union, anyone with a computer and the access to a search engine can find a union ready, willing and able to take their money.
As a result, if the NLRB's posting requirement does come to pass, while there will be some workplaces that fall victim to unionization, the NLRB's action may ultimately be more symbolic than having a widespread effect. However, the effect on President Obama's ongoing reputation as the most anti-business President
since Hugo Chavez continues to permeate the business community as this is just another example of an administration that does all it can for its union bosses, while kicking businesses (those that actually create jobs) in the teeth.
Note: As stated above, this rule would only go into effect after a 60-day public comment period. Per the NLRB's press release [Emphasis added]:
Public comments are invited on all aspects of the proposed rule, including the issue of the Board’s authority raised by the dissent, and should be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register, either electronically to www.regulations.gov, or by mail or hand-delivery to Lester Heltzer, Executive Secretary, NLRB, 1099 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20570.
A fact sheet and further information about the proposed rule is available here.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776