NLRB abandons union poster rule

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is backing down from a fight over a contentious regulation that would have required most businesses to display posters about union rights.  

Two federal appeals courts struck down the rules in separate cases last year, ruling that they amounted to an overreach from the labor rights agency.

The NLRB’s last recourse to save the rules was to appeal to the Supreme Court. On Monday, it declined to take that step, effectively killing the regulations for good.

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“The NLRB remains committed to ensuring that workers, businesses and labor organizations are informed of their rights and obligations under the National Labor Relations Act,” the agency said in a statement on Monday. “Therefore, the NLRB will continue its national outreach program to educate the American public about the statute.”

The controversial regulations would have required most private employers to put up 11-inch by 17-inch posters explaining workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The law gives workers the right to form a union, bargain collectively and strike to improve their working conditions.

The poster is still available in a variety of languages on the NLRB’s website, and businesses can choose to download and print it on a voluntary basis.

The NLRB argued that the rule was necessary because union membership had dwindled in recent years. Young people and immigrants, the labor board said, aren’t likely to know their rights.

But businesses had opposed the measure as unnecessary meddling in their operations.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which had fought the rules, called the NLRB’s decision “great news.”

In a statement, the trade group said that the rule would have created “a hostile work environment while injecting politics into manufacturers’ day-to-day business operations.”