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NLRB delays union poster rule 2 months, citing need to educate

October 14, 2011
The National Labor Relations Board has postponed until Jan. 31, 2012, the effective date of a new rule requiring most private businesses to put up a poster that tells workers about their right to form a union.
 
The board delayed the original Nov. 14 compliance date in order to conduct more outreach, especially to small- and medium-sized companies, about which businesses are covered under the rule. Dealerships are impacted by the requirement.
 
“We got a lot of calls from various businesses that are just not familiar with this law and are not aware they even fall under our jurisdiction,” said NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland.
 
The rule requires nearly every private business to post the 11-by-17-inch notice in a prominent location explaining a worker’s right to bargain collectively, distribute union literature and engage in other union activities without reprisal.
The poster includes language explaining that workers also have a legal right not to join a union.
 
“We realize we need to do a lot more outreach to let businesses know that the National Labor Relations Act covers employers whether or not they have a unionized work force,” Cleeland said.
 
The rule produced outrage in the business community and at least three major lawsuits that challenge the board’s authority to require companies to put up the poster.
 
Businesses groups trying to block the rule—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business are among them—claim the posters are a government effort to encourage workers to unionize.
 
Failure to put up the posters under the new rule would be considered an unfair labor practice. But Cleeland said the board is not trying to implement a “gotcha” rule and would probably issue a warning first if there is a complaint about a company’s failure to comply.
 
The Notice must be posted in English and in another language if at least 20 percent of employees are not proficient in English and speak the other language.
 
The NLRB has translated versions of the notice posted on its website. If a translation of the appropriate language is not available, the employer will not be liable for non-compliance.
 
 

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