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With no EFCA to give unions a level playing field, today Obama's Labor Dept. took a step that's sure to infuriate big employers like WalMart who hate unions and empowering their workers, and who prefer to treat workers as a disposable commodity.

All employers will have to post notices in their workplaces spelling out workers rights to organize a union.

NLRB pdf

As the Notice states, the Board "believes that many employees protected by the NLRA are unaware of their rights under the statute. The intended effects of this action are to increase knowledge of the NLRA among employees, to better enable the exercise of rights under the statute, and to promote statutory compliance by employers and unions."

Private-sector employers (including labor organizations) whose workplaces fall under the NLRA would be required to post the employee rights notice where other workplace notices are typically posted. If an employer communicates with employees primarily by email or other electronic means, the notice would be posted electronically as well. The notice would be available from the agency’s regional offices and could also be downloaded from the NLRB website.

The proposed notice is similar to one recently finalized by the U.S. Department of Labor for federal contractors. It states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to choose not to do any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or complaints.

While this won't end employers resorting to hiring consultants who specialize in "union avoiudence" to mount sophisticated campaigns of anti-union propaganda and subtle intimidation to prevent union representation of their workforces, it does make the very idea of a union somthing employees will be conscious of on a daily basis in their workplaces.

Update:

U.S. Proposes Posted Notice of the Right to Unionize

A day earlier, the labor board’s acting general counsel said that he would push for stronger action to create a fair atmosphere for unionization drives, perhaps by letting unions post materials on a company’s bulletin board if a company was found to have committed serious violations during such a drive.

These moves, part of a series of recent pro-union actions by the labor board under President Obama, upset companies and business groups.

This is enough to make the greedy Sam Walton spin in his grave.

Chamber of Commerce hacks are already kicking dirt at the proposal with their disingenuous "Who us?" routine.

Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

"The question here is, Is the N.L.R.B. moving forward on these steps based on true evidence that current, strong remedies are ineffective or just based on some vague arbitrary notion that employers are to blame for the decline in union membership and so therefore enforcement must be increased?" Mr. Johnson said.

The percentage of private sector workers in unions has dropped to 7.2 percent, from more than 35 percent in the 1950s.

The dishonesty of Johnson's mock indignation is an insult to our intelligence. We all can see what's going on in the job markets around us. The deliberate suppression of unions has a lot to do with it.

 

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 08:37 PM PST.

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