EMPLOYEE RIGHTS TO ORGANIZE A UNION « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


New NLRB Poster Will Now Be Required for Many Employers on January 31, 2012

The federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) guarantees the right of employees to organize unions to “bargain collectively” with their employees.

With a few exceptions,  employers will soon have to conspicuously display the agency’s Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Actposter. The original November 14, 2011 deadline was recently moved to January 31, 2012 “in order to allow for enhanced education and outreach for employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses.”

Employers who customarily post personnel and rules and policies on an internet or intranet site are required to post the notice electronically.

The notice must be posted in English and in any other language spoken by 20% or more of the workforce (if the 20%-plus are not otherwise proficient in English).

Among other things, the poster informs workers they have the right to:

● Organize a union to negotiate with their employer concerning wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment;

● Discuss wages, benefits, other terms and conditions, or union organizing with co-workers;

● Strike and picket, “depending on the purpose or means of the strike or the picketing” (a subject capable of filling several volumes; and

● Choose not to participate in any organizing activities, “including joining or remaining a member of union”

The poster also informs the reader on the improper actions of employers (e.g., cannot prohibit workers from “talking union” during non-work time) and of the unions (e.g., cannot “threaten or coerce” in order to gain a worker’s support for the union).

The exemption rules (no need to post the notice) are extensive.  Labor unions grossing more than $50,000/year must display the poster. Hospitals that gross $250,000 or more annually, casinos making $500,000-plus/year, and colleges, universities and private schools with $1,000,000 or more income yearly all must post.  There are many threshold level in between for other sorts of companies.  See the NLRB’s “Frequently Asked Questionsfor more.

… and, oh yes, there are no fines to an employer for failure to post. The NLRB informs us that an employer who is found to have neglected this requirement will receive the equivalent of a wrist slap.  The agency also advises “If an employer knowingly and willfully fails to post the Notice, that failure may be considered evidence of unlawful motive in an unfair labor practice case involving other alleged violations of the NLRA.” Emphasis supplied.