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Courts Put Hold on NLRB Mandate to Post Union Notice

Posted on April 18, 2012

Employers can set aside – at least for now – that National Labor Relations Board workplace notice informing employees of their right to join a union.

Union NoticeA federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the NLRB from requiring more than 6 million U.S. businesses to put up the labor-rights poster on April 30. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the rule cannot be enforced until legal questions are resolved.

The temporary injunction followed a federal judge’s ruling in South Carolina last week that the labor board exceeded congressional authority when it approved the poster requirement in 2011

AIM and other employer groups have opposed the rule as an unfair government effort to promote union organizing. The regulation is part of an ongoing effort by the NLRB to tilt the labor-relations playing field toward organized labor during the past three years.

“The South Carolina and Washington D.C. rulings provide hope that that the courts believe the NLRB overstepped its authority with the union-rights posting requirement,” said Michael Rudman, a labor-relations expert for AIM.

A separate new NLRB rule limiting the ability of employers to appeal eligibility issues prior to a union representation election was not included in Tuesday’s court action and is still scheduled to take effect on April 30. Abbreviated union elections place employers at a disadvantage because most don’t find out about a union campaign until it is well under way- frequently when the union has more than 75 percent of the potential unit employees signed up.

The union-rights posting notice rule requires employers to post an 11-by-17-inch notice in a prominent location explaining the right of workers to join a union and bargain collectively to improve wages and working conditions. The posters also explain that workers have a right not to join a union and that it is illegal for union officials to coerce employees into unionizing.

NLRB chairman Mark Pearce said the board would instruct its regional offices not to apply the poster rule while litigation is pending. He said the board would appeal the adverse South Carolina ruling, as well as the part of the Washington, D.C., ruling that restricts how the rule can be enforced.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans said Tuesday they would join a separate lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB. The lawsuit, pending in Washington state, argues that the president illegally bypassed the Senate to appoint three members to the board in January.