Business group challenges NLRB over union poster rule

Business groups continue to press the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over its proposed rule to have employers post notices informing workers of their organizing rights.

On Monday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) will present oral arguments in federal court for their lawsuit against the proposed regulation. On a Friday conference call with reporters, Joe Trauger, NAM’s vice president of human resources, said the union poster rule is one of many actions the NLRB has taken this year that has angered business.

“This is just one part of what has been an activist agenda that could have a negative impact on employers,” Trauger said.

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The rule, which was meant to go into effect this November, requires employers to post notices in their workplaces that would inform workers of their right to form unions. After pushback from trade associations, the NLRB delayed implementation of the rule until January next year, so businesses could prepare for the rule.

Business groups have lobbied hard against several NLRB actions, including the notice rule. Unions and their Democratic allies have battled back, arguing the attacks are meant to undermine workers’ rights.

What has attracted the most attention has been the labor board’s April 20 complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers.

The aerospace giant ran into trouble with the labor board after its executives expressed worries about work stoppages at its unionized facilities in the state of Washington. Boeing then started a new production line for its 787 Dreamliner jet in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

The NLRB dropped its complaint against Boeing after the International Association of Machinists and the company resolved their differences when they agreed to a four-year contract extension to build the new 737 MAX jet at union facilities in Renton, Wash. and elsewhere.

The Boeing complaint, a proposal to speed up union elections, and a board ruling that could create smaller bargaining units for unions, along with the notice rule, have all raised the ire of business groups. Consequently, House Republicans have either proposed or passed legislation to block many of those proposals this year.

GOP lawmakers also continue to investigate the labor board.

In a letter sent Friday to Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s acting general counsel, Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) expanded their investigation related to the Boeing complaint and asked for more documents.

“A top priority of your office is to protect the rights of workers, not pick winners and losers in a labor dispute. The instability born from this bureaucratic overreach and threats of future overreach will undermine job creation across the country at a time we can least afford it,” Kline and Roe said in their letter.

The lawmakers ask that Solomon send the NLRB documents to the committee by January 3. Kline and Roe’s letter follows a similar letter sent to Solomon on Wednesday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Business groups have also continued to push back against the labor board.

Trauger said NAM filed the lawsuit because it believes only Congress has the authority to authorize the notice rule. Further, they believe it impinges on employers’ free speech rights.

“We believe the NLRB does not have the authority to require all employers to post the notice in their workplace,” Trauger said.

Other groups are suing the NLRB over the rule, including the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

NAM was first to file its lawsuit on September 8, according to Trauger.

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