U.S. Court of Appeals Strikes NLRB Poster Rule

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck a National Labor Relations Board rule that would have required millions of employers to display a poster in a prominent location of their businesses, informing employees of their right to form a union. In a 3-0 ruling, the appeals court ruled that the NLRB had overstepped its authority by requiring the “notification of employee rights.”

Under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) the NLRB is authorized to investigate and decide unfair labor practice charges and conduct representation elections. The Board has two primary responsibilities, the first is to prevent employer and union unfair labor practices as defined by the LMRA. The second primary responsibility is to determine if employees covered under the LMRA desire independent union representation for the purposes of collective bargaining.

Recently, unions have seen a decline in membership as more and more employers have implemented programs and initiatives that address worker concerns. The poster rule was seen as a measure that would help to curb the declining membership by the unions. While the NLRB has also stated that because few workers are aware of their collective bargaining rights the rule was necessary.

Employers argued that the rule & the poster are one-sided in favor of unionization. The NLRB has stated that the poster is neutral as it also informs employee’s that they have a right not to join a union or be coerced by union officials.

The appellate court ruling was hailed as a victory by business groups, because many employers saw the rule as being out of context with the responsibilities normally undertaken by the NLRB. However, the ruling has been de-cried by labor organizations.

Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, one of the country’s largest labor organizations, stated: “The Republican judges of the D.C. Circuit continue to wreak havoc on workers’ rights. After attempting to render the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) inoperable (in the Noel Canning decision), the D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law.”

The Board has stated it is reviewing the latest ruling and “will make a decision on further proceedings at the appropriate time.”

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