Worker rights got a big boost today, from the National Labor Relations Board:
The National Labor Relations Board issued new regulations on Thursday that require companies to put posters on their bulletin boards that inform employees about their rights to unionize under federal law.
Under the new regulations, businesses would have to display notices that explain the right to bargain collectively, to give out union literature and to work together to improve wages and conditions free of retaliation.
Noting that many workers are unaware of these rights, the board said the new regulations are aimed at making it easier for workers to exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, which sets rules for unionization efforts. Agricultural, rail and airline employers would not be covered by the new rule.
Naturally, business groups are unhappy with the NLRB’s move — claiming that it shows the NLRB’s “pro-union tilt under President Obama” (horrors!), and that it’s “a gift to organized labor” (as though anti-union initiatives like the recent legislation in Wisconsin that took away government workers’ collective bargaining rights, are not “a gift” to business interests).
The NLRB is also proposing another set of regulations that would “speed up unionization elections,” and business boosters are complaining about those, too, on the grounds that they “will deny employers the ability to adequately explain to their workers the disadvantages of joining a union.” Translation: Employers will no longer have enough time to develop effective scare tactics in order to intimidate and frighten their employees into voting against unions.
Business interests did win some concessions — employers will not be required to distribute unionization notices via email, voice mail, or text messages. Nevertheless, the new regulations will take effect on November 14.