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Small business group joins lawsuit against NLRB

A state small business group is joining a lawsuit against a federal labor agency. The group says employers should not have to notify workers of their right to join a union. It also says a new requirement sets a dangerous precedent.

A state small business group is joining a lawsuit against a federal labor agency. The group says employers should not have to notify workers of their right to join a union. It also says a new requirement sets a dangerous precedent.

Earlier this year the National Labor Relations Board -- or NLRB -- passed a rule making private employers put up a poster letting workers know of their right to organize. The rule was to have taken effect Nov. 14.

That date could change. The National Federation of Independent Businesses has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the federal board has over-stepped its authority.

Bill Smith directs Wisconsin's chapter of NFIB.

"The problem is when you fail to prominently display that poster it's treated as an unfair labor practice and it opens up all kinds of additional investigations and involvement by the federal government," he says. "So it clearly is an overreach. The NLRB is supposed to be a neutral arbiter and impartial about these types of regulations."

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Smith says small businesses often don't have human relations departments or access to legal counsel to advise if they are meeting the letter of the NLRB's rule.

He says the poster amounts to one of those regulations lawmakers are talking about eliminating as part of a deficit reduction plan.

"Even the President has been talking about reducing the burdensome regulations on small businesses," he says.

Smith says 6 million private employers would be affected by the poster rule. Beyond that, he says the case is more about keeping the NLRB from issuing more rules in the future.

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