NLRB Says Workers Need to Know Their Rights, Biz World Flips Out

by Mike Hall

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a new and simple rule today. It says employers must display an 11-by-17-inch poster informing workers of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, where they usually post notices to let workers know their rights.

Saying he applauded the new rule, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:

Just as employers are required to notify their employees of their rights around health and safety, wages and discrimination on the job, this rule gives clear information to employees about their rights under this fundamental labor law so that workers are better equipped to exercise and enforce them.

Yet from the reaction of the Big Business, the notice is just a step away from the NLRB giving workers the right to drag employers into the street and beat them severely about the head and shoulders.

Keep in mind, this is a just a poster.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) calls it an “unprecedented overreach of its authority… a punitive new rule…a new low…a trap for millions of businesses.”

It’s just a poster.

Peter Schaumber, a former NLRB chairman appointed by former President George W. Bush, told Bloomberg News, “It’s arbitrary, it’s capricious.”

It’s just a poster.

On the right-wing website GOPUSA, the new rule is “another disgusting government intrusion into private business.”

It’s just a poster. Just a poster similar to the ones the U.S. Department of Labor requires the thousands and thousands of federal contractors to post.

The NLRB says employers will not be required to distribute the notice via e-mail, voice mail, text messaging or related electronic communications “even if they customarily communicate with their employees in that manner and they may post notices in black and white as well as in color.”

All it needs to say is that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer. It also must say, “employees may refrain from any of these activities.” Pretty even handed, huh?

BTW, it won’t cost employers a penny because the NLRB will provide copies for free or employers can download it.


Comment from Dane Englund
Time August 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

Your response “it’s just a poster” to objections to the new ruling lacks fortitude and conviction and is typical of someone attached to government or a union.

In fact, I would argue that your response marks the self-evident position unions have put themselves in – hence the need for help from the government.

I would also argue that if unions had at their essence, the concern for, and well being of the workforce, then rules such as this new poster rule would be unnecessary, if not redundant. As would your response, “it’s just a poster.” The decline in Union membership over the last few decades would indicate that this is not the case.

I agree. This new rule is another intrusion in to over regulated, over litigated, over taxed, and overburdened private business that is intended to bolster organizations that have become obsolete and/or irrelevant because they have failed in their very purpose.

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