NRLB Targets Non-Union Employees: What’s an Employer to Do?

“The National Labor Relations Board’s (‘NLRB’) aggressive campaign to educate non-union employees about their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (‘NLRA’) is in full swing. In addition to the mandatory notice posting requirement that will go into effect for all employers on April 30, the NLRB recently announced its plan to launch a new website designed to educate both union and non-union employees about their rights under the NLRA.” (NLRB to Expand Outreach Campaign Targeting Nonunion Employees by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC)

The National Labor Relations Board wants to expand the scope of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). To do that, they’ve undertaken an aggressive initiative to educate non-union employees of their rights under the NLRA.

What’s an employer to do? Here are six suggestions from labor and employment lawyers on JD Supra:

1.  Put up the damn poster:

“No later than April 30, 2012, most private sector employers will be required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)… The notice must be posted in a conspicuous place, where other notifications of workplace rights and employer rules and policies are posted. Employers also should publish a link to the notice on an internal or external website if other personnel policies or workplace notices are posted there.” (Two New Employer Requirements! by Sands Anderson PC)

2.  Put up your own poster:

“Although the specific language mandated by the Labor Board for its poster is accurate, it does not clearly explain to employees their right to refrain from union activities… Employers are entitled to lawfully explain to the workforce why they think bringing a union into a company is counter-productive. There is no sense in remaining silent and not explaining to employees where their employer stands on the issue.” (Point/Counterpoint: Why Two Labor Posters Are Better Than One by McAfee & Taft)

3.  Update your workplace policies and procedures:

“In this age of technology, employees don’t need to rely on posters in the back of a lunch room for information on their rights anymore. They can use their smart phones to check out the NLRB website from anywhere. But in addition to worrying about the posters, employers should use this new requirement as an opportunity to take a fresh look at their workplace policies and procedures.” (Three Weeks Until NLRB Posting Rule Takes Effect by Pullman & Comley, LLC)

4.  Enhance your employee communications:

“… we encourage businesses to act legally but swiftly to optimize the effectiveness of their employee communications initiatives, so that they are standing on go once the new rules take effect… To that end, take a fresh look at your current communications programs, so as to ensure the smooth flow of information in upward and downward directions. Along the way, take the time to evaluate all potential vehicles and participatory initiatives, ranging from large group meetings to one-on-one sessions with opinion leaders on the shop floor.” (Labor Letter, April 2012: Responding To The (New) NLRB by Fisher & Phillips LLP)

5.  Improve your employee relations programs:

“Savvy employers should have strong employee relations policies and programs [that] establish open communication channels, provide for employee recognition, and implement competitive wages and benefits among other things. Implementing this type of program will not only help avoid a unionization drive in the first instance, but also will help build employee trust and establish efficient lines of communication that could be vital during a shortened pre-election period.” (Organized Labor’s Big Day — Are You Ready? by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP)

6.  Reconsider the use of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements:

“It is important to remember that both union and non-union employers are subject to the National Labor Relations Act and, thus, the authority of the National Labor Relations Board. As such, non-union employers who have arbitration agreements with class action waivers risk being subject to a charge initiated by a disgruntled employee… As a result of the NLRB’s unsettling decision, non-union employers who should feel free to include class action waivers in arbitration agreements must now give pause to assess the possible risk of an unfair labor claim.” (The NLRB Takes the Position that Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements — Even for Non-Union Employers — is an Unfair Labor Practice by Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.)

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