NLRB Issues Final Rule, Businesses Must Prominently Promote Ability to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule last week that requires employers put notices on bulletin boards informing employees about their rights to unionize under federal law.

Starting November 14, 2011, private sector employers whose workplaces fall under the National Labor Relations Act will be required to post the employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted.

“The Board believes that many employees protected by the NLRA are unaware of their rights under the statute and that the rule will increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, in order to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute,” said NLRB in the rule. “A beneficial side effect may well be the promotion of statutory compliance by employers and unions.”


The board received more than 7,000 comments following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register and some did have an impact according to the NLRB.

“Employers will not be required to distribute the notice via email, 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,” said the NLRB in a statement.

Groups that represent small businesses were not supportive of the proposed rule, saying the NLRB was over-reaching its authority.


“Just when we thought we had seen it all from the NLRB, it has reached a new low in its zeal to punish small-business owners,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “Not only is the Board blatantly moving beyond its legal authority by issuing this rule, it is unabashedly showing its spite for job creators by setting up a trap for millions of businesses.”

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) told SHN that opposes the rule because it is one-sided in that it fails to address what employees should do if a union coerces them or should they want to de-certify.

“We see this as nothing more as an agenda to advance unions and an infringement on private businesses” said Paul Williams, senior director of government relations for ALFA. “We’re not anti-union, we support the employees’ right to decide whether or not they want to belong to a union.”

The organization said it will continue to fight these anti-employee and employer initiatives along with other business groups. Other pro-union organizations like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) praised the NLRB final rule.

“We have witnessed unprecedented assaults on workers’ rights in states across the country. Now, the NLRB is taking a positive step for workers who want to exercise their fundamental right to decide for themselves whether to form a union,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU.