National Consumers League

Head-scratching controversy over NLRB poster ruling


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By Michell K. McIntyre, Director of NCL's Special Project on Wage Theft Since when is it controversial to inform people of their rights and protections afforded under the law? Why is it seen as a ‘job killer,’ a ‘punishment,’ or ‘regulation run amok,’ to simply know your rights in the workplace? Today’s workers are not taught about their rights when entering the workplace and few high schools teach students about their rights to a minimum wage and rules governing safety in the workplace, let alone their rights to collectively bargain and form a union.  How are Americans expected to learn about those rights? The Department of Labor already requires the placing of posters that inform workers of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, job safety and others – so why are business groups fighting a new poster? Business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Legal Center, National Chamber Litigation Center, the Manhattan Institute and others have fought the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) ruling to require most private businesses to put up a poster that explains employees’ rights and protections under the National Labor Relations Act, from 1935, to collectively bargain and form a union. They have argued that the poster – which simply informs workers of their rights and protections – will damage the economy, kill jobs and destroy the employer-employee relationship. On March 2nd, a U.S. District judge upheld the right of the NLRB to require most private businesses to put up posters informing workers they have a legal right to form a union. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, “The notice-posting rule is a reasonable means of promoting awareness.” The US Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers challenged the NLRB’s ruling and questioned the right of the NLRB to require the posters. The backlash is enough to make one wonder, what legitimate reasons could an honest employer have for keeping their workers in the dark about their rights at work? After all, it’s only a poster… [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DzlOHrtw_4]