Beginning in mid-November, most private U.S. employers will have to tack another poster on their employee bulletin boards: a notice spelling out workers' union rights.
The requirement - part of a flurry of pro-union rulings by the National Labor Relations Board last week - applies to all employers under NLRB jurisdiction, which excludes agricultural, railroad and airline employers.
The new NLRB poster, similar to one that has been required for federal contractors since mid-2010, spells out workers' rights to form or join labor unions, picket and strike, and bargain collectively without facing retaliation.
The notices will be available for free from the NLRB by Nov. 1, and must be posted beginning Nov. 14.
Employees under NLRB jurisdiction already have to post notices regarding workplace discrimination laws, the minimum wage and the Family Medical Leave Act.
Failure to post any NLRB-required notices can be grounds for an unfair-labor practices complaint against an employer, said John Balitis, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law for Fennemore Craig in Phoenix.
Many larger employers have compliance staff or a service that keeps such required postings up to date.
"The problem is, I think there are going to be many, many employers who won't do it because they're not aware of the new rule," Balitis said.
Balitis said that even though some small employers may not fall under NLRB jurisdiction - which in part depends on a company's gross revenues and interstate commerce - it's better to comply than risk a potentially costly labor complaint.
Balitis said the notices are bound to stimulate union-organizing activity, though to what degree remains to be seen.
Also last week, the NLRB issued rulings in three separate cases, making it easier for nursing-home workers to form unions, and barring union-decertification votes for six months after a union is certified or after a change of company ownership.
Some Republicans and business groups have charged that the rulings represent an end-run around the Congress following the failure of Democrat-backed "card-check" legislation that would have made it easier to form unions.
IF YOU GO
• What: "We Are One" 15th Annual Labor Day Picnic. With hot dogs, musical acts, dancers, labor history exhibits, children's activities and "Union Olympics" games.
• Who: Sponsored by Pima Area Labor Federation; public is welcome.
• When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.
• Where: Reid Park Bandshell, 1100 S. Randolph Way.
• Admission: Free.
By the numbers
Union members in Arizona in 2010
Workers represented by unions in Arizona, 2010*
Percent of Arizona workers who were union members in 2010
Peak percentage of union workers in Arizona (2007)
*Including non-union workers whose jobs are covered by a union contract
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to comply
• The union-rights notices required by the NLRB must be posted in a conspicuous place starting Nov. 14.
• Employers with more than 20 percent of workers who speak a language other than English are required to post copies in the other language.
• The NLRB will provide copies of the notice (in English and other languages) on request at no cost to employers, beginning on or before Nov. 1. They can be obtained by contacting the NLRB headquarters or its regional or local offices. The nearest NLRB office is in Phoenix.
• Employers also will be able to download the notice from the NLRB website (www.nlrb.gov) and print it. The notices also will available through commercial suppliers.
• If an employer customarily posts personnel rules and policies on an Internet or intranet site, the union-rights notice also must be posted there (but employers are not required to distribute the posting by email, Twitter or other electronic means).
• For more information, go to www.nlrb.gov
Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at email@example.com or 573-4181.