New NLRB Rules Hurt Employers

The National Labor Relations Board has issued two new rules that will dramatically impact your ability to remain non-union. One is now in effect and the other is coming due soon.

 The Board will now require most private-sector employers to notify their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a notice. Posters, issued by the Board, must be posted in all workplaces by November 14, 2011. Posters will be available on the NLRB website by November 1. You will also be required to post a notice on your intranet or on an internet site if HR rules, policies or handbooks are normally posted there.

 All private sector employers, whether unionized or not, must comply with the requirement. Some exceptions for extremely small employers exist. Failure to post the notice may be treated as an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act. The Board investigates allegations of unfair labor practices made by employees, unions, employers, or other persons, but does not initiate enforcement action on its own.

 The Board expects that, in most cases, employers who fail to post the notice are unaware of the rule and will comply when requested by a Board agent. In such cases, the unfair labor practice case will typically be closed without further action.

 In an earlier edict, the Board proposed amendments to its existing rules and regulations governing procedures which would result in speedy union elections. The proposed amendments would:

  • Allow unions to file petitions and other documents electronically;
  • Standardize timeframes for pre-election hearings and post-election hearings ;
  • Mandate employers provide a final voter list with employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses in electronic form within two days of the direction of election;
  • Require parties to identify pre-election issues, including voter eligibility within seven days after an election petition is filed;
  • Consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board in a single post-election appeals process; and
  • Make Board review of post-election decisions discretionary rather than mandatory.

 These new rules if approved will expedite union elections and will limit your ability to effectively communicate your message to your employees.

 Both rules demonstrate the importance of why you must educate your workforce now about unionization and your position on them. Don’t wait until a union is knocking on your door. By then it will be too late.

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