Employment Law Report

Obama Administration Issues Proposed Rule on Notice of NLRA Rights

By Edwin S. Hopson

On August 3, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a notice of proposed rule-making which would require government contractors to post the following notice in their workplaces advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act: 


 ‘‘It is the policy of the United States to encourage collective bargaining and protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid and protection.

 ‘‘Under federal law, you have the right to:

 Organize a union to negotiate with your employer concerning your wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.

 Form, join or assist a union.

 Bargain collectively through a duly selected union for a contract with your employer setting your wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions.

 Discuss your terms and conditions of employment with your co-workers or a union; join other workers in raising work-related complaints with your employer, government agencies, or members of the public; and seek and receive help from a union subject to certain limitations.

 Take action with one or more co-workers to improve your working conditions, including attending rallies on non-work time, and leafleting on non-work time in non-work areas.

 Strike and picket, unless your union has agreed to a no-strike clause and subject to certain other limitations. In some circumstances, your employer may permanently replace strikers.

 Choose not to do any of these activities, including joining or remaining a member of a union.

 ‘‘It is illegal for your employer to:

 Prohibit you from soliciting for the union during non-work time or distributing union literature during non-work time, in non-work areas.

 Question you about your union support or activities.

 Fire, demote, or transfer you, or reduce your hours or change your shift, or otherwise take adverse action against you, or threaten to take any of these actions, because you join or support a union, or because you engage in other activity for mutual aid and protection, or because you choose not to engage in any such activity.

 Threaten to close your workplace if workers choose a union to represent them.

 Promise or grant promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to discourage or encourage union support.

 Prohibit you from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts, and pins in the workplace except under special circumstances, for example, as where doing so might interfere with patient care.

 Spy on or videotape peaceful union activities and gatherings or pretend to do so.

 It is illegal for a union or for the union that represents you in bargaining with your employer to: discriminate or take other adverse action against you based on whether you have joined or support the union.

 ‘‘If your rights are violated:

 Illegal conduct will not be permitted. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an agency of the United States government, will protect your right to a free choice concerning union representation and collective bargaining and will prosecute violators of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB may order an employer to rehire a worker fired in violation of the law and to pay lost wages and benefits and may order an employer or union to cease violating the law. The NLRB can only act, however, if it receives information of unlawful behavior within six months.

 ‘‘If you believe your rights or the rights of others have been violated, you must contact the NLRB within six months of the unlawful treatment. Employees should seek assistance from the nearest regional NLRB office, which can be found on the Agency’s Web site: http://www.nlrb.gov. ‘‘Click on the NLRB’s page titled About Us, which contains a link, Locating Our Offices.

 You can also contact the NLRB by calling toll-free: 1–866–667–NLRB (6572) or (TTY) 1–866–315–NLRB (1–866–315–6572) for hearing impaired.

 ‘‘This is an official Government Notice and must not be defaced by anyone.

 Comments are due by September 2, 2009.

 The Notice sets out in great detail various employee rights and employer obligations, more so than one would find in a similar notice issued by the NLRB.