Judge rules against NLRB union poster rule

A federal judge ruled Friday that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) exceeded its authority when it required employers to post notices explaining workers’ rights to form a union.

U.S. District Judge David Norton said in his ruling that Congress didn’t authorize the labor board to issue the poster rule. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce had challenged the NLRB regulation in federal court in September last year.


In his ruling, the federal judge said the agency lacked the legal authority to issue the notice and thus the rule was not lawful.

“Based on the statutory scheme, legislative history, history of evolving congressional regulation in the area, and a consideration of other federal labor statutes, the court finds that Congress did not intend to impose a notice-posting obligation on employers, nor did it explicitly or implicitly delegate authority to the Board to regulate employers in this manner,” Norton said.

Norton also said the NLRB was flexing its new “rulemaking muscles.” The labor board’s critics have often said that the agency has become overly aggressive during the Obama administration.

“The Board also went seventy-five years without promulgating a notice-posting rule, but it has now decided to flex its newly-discovered rulemaking muscles,” Norton said.

Norton’s ruling contradicts another decision by a federal court last month. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the NLRB was within its legal authority to issue the poster rule.

NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce has said the notice rule will help workers to know their rights and protections under labor law.

The Chamber celebrated Norton’s ruling against the regulation.

“The court noted that nothing in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) ‘even mentions the issue of notice posting’ (emphasis added) — much less compels or even permits the NLRB to issue such a rule. The decision is an important reminder that federal agencies can't ignore the law in order to further partisan agendas,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber's senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, in a blog post.

A NLRB spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to messages asking for comment for this story.

The notice rule was set to go into effect on April 30.