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The NLRB Continues To Help Unions Organize: Do Not Get Caught Flatfooted

By:  Paul Rosenberg

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) seems intent upon helping unions organize employees.  It continues to pass rules, issue decisions, or announce new policies which will almost certainly facilitate union organizing.  The latest example occurred on March 22 when the NLRB announced that in the next two weeks it is launching an “educational” website aimed at informing non-union employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).   In conjunction with this unprecedented website the NLRB is preparing brochures which will provide “real life” cases to inform non-union workers of their legal rights.   The NLRB has yet to determine the distribution mechanism for the brochures.

The NLRB’s latest unprecedented initiative comes on the heels of the new notice posting rule which will be in effect beginning April 30.  That rule requires that employers post a notice informing employers of their rights under the NLRA.  The notice must be posted in all locations in which the company traditionally posts similar notices, such as wage and hour and discrimination posters.  The required poster size is intentionally larger than that of other bedrock employment notices such as minimum wage, family medical leave, and equal employment opportunity rights.    

The dissemination of information to employees will inevitably lead to employees questioning existing policies and/or seeking out union representation.  Consequently, in the coming weeks you should review all your policies and procedures.  This review should extend beyond the typical legal audit.  You should consider whether there are new policies which can be administered to help create an employee-centric environment less susceptible to unionization.  Further, because the NLRB’s purported educational efforts will likely result in an uptick in union organizing, all managers should be trained on the “do’s and don’ts” of how to respond if a union comes knocking.