Finance News & Insights

Firms must now alert workers of their rights to unionize

You can bet most employers aren’t happy about this: Soon, they’ll be legally required to notify workers about their rights to form unions.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) just announced a new requirement that employers must notify workers of their rights to form unions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The NLRB’s “Final Rule” is slated to take effect on November 14, 2011.

The Final Rule applies to any organization that is covered by the NLRA. While this includes the majority of employers in the private sector, some may be exempt.

Example: Employers with annual total revenues of less $500,000 may be excluded.

To be safe, small firms should talk to a lawyer to see if they fall under the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

The Final Rule by NLRB also spelled out the notification requirements for employers.

According to the NLRB, covered employers must post the notice alerting workers of their right to unionize “in conspicuous places,” where it’s “readily seen by employees, including all places where notices to employees concerning personnel rules or policies are customarily posted.”

So, if your firm generally posts notices in your break or lunchroom, you’ll probably want to place it there.

The notice is meant to inform employees of their rights under the NLRA, including:

  • the rights to organize a union
  • bargain collectively
  • discuss wages with co-workers, and
  • engage in a strike and other “protected concerted activity.”

The notice must also provide workers with info about how they can contact the NLRB for more info regarding their rights.

If 20% or more of a company’s workforce is not proficient in English, the company is required to post the notice in the other appropriate language/languages.

Some employers may also be required to post the notice electronically.

According to the NLRB, employers are required to post the notice on a company’s intranet or Internet site “if the employer customarily communicates with its employees about personnel rules or policies by such means.”

Once the NLRB completes the formal notice, employers will be able to download the required poster on the its website or by visiting their NLRB regional office.

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