NLRA Implements New Federal Rules Requiring Notification Of Employees Right To Unionize

By: Ruth Evans, Owner, Evans HR Group

 

Effective November 14th, employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act are required to post a new poster notifying employees of their rights under the Act. Copies of this notice will be available on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) website at www.nlrb.gov around November 1 and from the NLRB regional offices www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are/regional-offices. You can also purchase from the CalChamber. 

This new notice (11 x 17”) must be posted in a conspicuous place and where other government posters are posted and where it can be readily available to employees. If employers post employment rules and policies on a company internet or intranet site, those employers must this new NLRB notice on that site as well.

This notice states that:

  • Employees have the right to organize, form, join or assist a union;
  • To bargain collectively to improve wages, benefits, hours and other working conditions;
  • To discuss terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees or a union;
  • To take action with those fellow employees to improve working conditions;
  • And to strike and picket.

The notice also informs employees that they have the right to refrain from any of these activities.

The poster also includes those employer activities that are illegal. Employers cannot:

  • Prohibit employees from soliciting for a union during non-work time or from distributing union-related materials in non-work areas;
  • Question employees about their union support or activities;
  • Fire, demote or transfer employees, or take or threaten to take any other adverse action against employees because they join or support a union;
  • Threaten to close a workplace if workers choose a union;
  • Promise or grant promotions, raises or other benefits to discourage or encourage union support;
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts and pins in the workplace, except in special circumstances;
  • Spy or videotape peaceful union activities. 

Further, it gives examples of illegal employer and union conduct and instructs employees on how to contact the NLRB with any questions or complaints. 

If 20% of your workforce speaks a language other than English, the notice must be posted in both (or more) languages.

The NLRB will initially focus on compliance with this new posting requirement. If an employer fails to post the notice, the NLRB will, in most cases, assume that the employer was unaware of the requirement. If the employer complies with the requirement, then the NLRB will close the matter. If the alleged posting violation cannot be resolved informally, a formal complaint process may occur and may result in an unfair labor practice charge. If an employer knowingly and willfully fails to post the notice, the failure may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the NLRA.

Employers Covered by the NLRA

The NLRA applies to employees in most private-sector workplaces, including manufacturing plants, retail centers, private universities, and health care facilities. Agricultural workers and domestic workers were excluded in the original law and are not covered. Also exempted are supervisors and independent contractors. 

The Act does not cover federal, state or local government workers, with the exception of employees of the U.S. Postal Service, and does not cover rail or airline employees.

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