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No Need to Display NLRB’s Controversial Union Poster … For Now

by on
in HR Soapbox

Good news for employers: If you weren’t looking forward to displaying the new pro-union poster from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on your breakroom wall, an April 17 court ruling says you don’t have to … at least for several months.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. issued an injunction that indefinitely postpones the employer posting requirement, which was set to take effect on April 30. The much-delayed, controversial 11-by-17-inch poster notifies employees of their rights to form or join a union at their workplace.

The poster is opposed by a coalition of business groups—led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)—that sued to stop it. As NAM argues, the posting requirement would be, “an unprecedented attempt by the board to assert power and authority it does not possess.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge in South Carolina agreed that the NLRB lacked the authority to compel employees to display the poster. (Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB). A few weeks earlier, a different federal court in Washington, D.C. ruled the opposite way, upholding the NLRB’s authority to issue the mandate. (National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB)

This new injunction preserves the status quo until litigation over the issue runs its course. Oral arguments on this case aren’t even scheduled until September 2012 so, at least for the next several months, employers are not required to display the poster.

What should employers do if they’ve already tacked up the poster in their workplaces? The injunction means you can remove it, but you obviously aren’t required to do so.

Note: Some employers that began displaying the poster before this injunction tried to counter its pro-union slant by displaying a separate notice alongside this poster that explains the company’s view on union organizing.

The best strategy: Wait and see what the courts and NLRB decide this fall. If you are ultimately required to tack up this poster, do nothing to call attention to it. If you have a five-in-one laminated poster, it will become a six-in-one poster and most employees won’t notice.

For breaking news on this issue … plus more details and a link to download the printable poster, go to www.theHRSpecialist.com/unionposter.

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