In a victory for employers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has quashed the National Labor Relations Board's "posting requirement" rule, which the agency issued in August 2011.
The final rule, which has not gone into effect because of the legal dispute, requires most businesses to post notices in conspicuous places informing workers of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Some of those rights include forming, joining or assisting a union as well as collectively bargaining through representatives of workers' own choosing. Under the rule, businesses failing to post the notice could be penalized for committing an unfair labor practice under the NLRA. Employers, led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said the posting requirement violated both the NLRA and the U.S. Constitution.
On May 7, the court ruled in favor of employer groups on both counts. It did not rule on the issue of whether the board had the legal authority to develop the rule at all. In April 2012, the U.S. District Court for South Carolina also struck down the rule, saying the NLRB does not have the statutory authority to require business owners to post what employer groups call a "biased" poster.
Geoff Burr, Associated Builders and Contractors' vice president of federal affairs, says, "The poster was flawed from the beginning, when it only detailed how workers have the right to join a union but omitted their rights to decertify a union." Jay Timmons, NAM's president and CEO, said that while the appeals-court ruling is a significant victory, his organization will be watching for any "future oversteps by this rogue agency."
Union groups blasted the ruling. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called it "absurd." He said, "When workers know their rights, the laws work as intended."
The issue is still pending in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
An NLRB spokesperson says the board is reviewing the decision and will determine any further action at the "appropriate time."