Bloomberg Businessweek reports:
A U.S. labor board rule requiring companies to install workplace posters on union rights was thrown out by an appeals court that said the regulation violates employers’ rights to free speech.
A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today said the National Labor Relations Board’s demand that employers provide information about union organizing, bargaining and protests was so-called compelled speech because it didn’t include opposing information such as how to decertify a union or avoid paying dues.
The rule treats failure to post the required notice “as evidence of anti-union animus in cases involving, for example, unlawfully motivated firings or refusals to hire — in other words, because it treats such a failure as evidence of an unfair labor practice,” U.S. Circui Judge A. Raymond Randolph said in the opinion.
The regulation was challenged by the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation and other business lobby groups who claimed enactment of the rule would affect more than 6 million employers who otherwise wouldn’t be subject to NLRB regulation.
The rule had been on hold while the appeals court considered its legality.
The National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons said in a statement:
Today, manufacturers claim an important victory in the fight against an activist NLRB and its aggressive agenda. The poster rule is a prime example of a government agency that seeks to fundamentally change the way employers and employees communicate. The ultimate result of the NLRB’s intrusion would be to create hostile work environments where none exist. The U.S. Court of Appeals has rightfully ruled that the NLRB has no authority to enforce notice posting. Stopping the NLRB’s burdensome agenda of placing itself into manufacturers’ day-to-day business operations is essential to preventing further government-inflicted damage to employee relations in the United States.
The ruling is a significant moment for manufacturers, but we will not assume the threat of an activist NLRB is eliminated. Instead, we will remain consistently vigilant to ensure that manufacturers are protected from any future oversteps by this rogue agency.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement:
The Republican judges of the D.C. Circuit continue to wreak havoc on workers’ rights. After attempting to render the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) inoperable (in the Noel Canning decision), the D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law.
In today’s workplace, employers are required to display posters explaining wage and hour rights, health and safety and discrimination laws, even emergency escape routes. The D.C. Circuit ruling suggests that courts should strike down hundreds of notice requirements, not only those that inform workers about their rights and warn them of hazards, but also those on cigarette packages, in home mortgages and many other areas. The Court’s twisted logic finds that “freedom of speech” precludes the government from requiring employers to provide certain information to employees. This is absurd: when workers know their rights, the laws work as intended.
At the time of this posting, the NLRB has not issued a statement.