HR and Payroll administrators should take note that as a result of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), governed by the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB: 5 members – 3 Democrats, 1 Republican, 1 vacancy), recently announced that private enterprises that fall under the NLRA’s jurisdiction will be required to post a new employee poster by Nov. 14, 2011. Right now, all employers are required to put up posters informing workers of the FLSA, minimum wage laws and other worker rights. This NLRA poster informs employees of their right to organize. Under NLRA guidelines, any business that exceeds $500,000 in gross sales, or for non-retail businesses, exceeds $50,000 in out-of-state sales or purchases falls under NLRA jurisdiction. The number of employees is of no relevance.

Here is a link to the poster for your review.

The poster will soon be available from the NLRB web site at no cost. It must be at least 11 x 7 and it must be posted with all other employee posters.  If 20 percent or more employees commonly speak a language other than English, an additional poster translated in that language must also go up. If employers use electronic methods to disseminate employee information, that electronic method must also be used to inform employees of this NLRB proclamation.

Enforcement of the ruling is in question as well as the consequences for non-compliance. The NLRB expects pro union individuals to visit places of employment to make sure they are in compliance. If a business is not, the NLRB will “slap their wrist” and ask them to put up the poster. Failure to comply will not result in any fines or penalties but the NLRB can accuse the employer of “unfair labor practices” which can result in consequences as they relate to employee organization efforts. There is also some question whether the NLRB even has the authority to mandate such a posting. The Advi$or notes that in one of the first executive orders of his administration, Mr. Obama, in January of 2009, ordered all Federal contractors to post a similar poster. 

The value of such a proclamation is debatable. The pro labor side of the argument notes that collective bargaining puts more money in workers’ pockets, increases purchasing power and creates a stronger economy. On the other hand, employers note that a competitive market place does a pretty good job of ensuring fair wages and benefits for employees and that collective bargaining inhibits the ability to reward better workers for productive work habits. There is also the burden of the cost of compliance as well as the cost of administration if employees choose to organize. The market seems to support the latter argument as private sector union membership has shrunk from 35% in the 1950’s to below 7% currently. Also notable is the increased migration of individuals to right-to-work states as indicated in the 2010 census.

If you have questions regarding this requirement and your business, customers of Time & Pay can call our professional partner, SESCO, for free consultations.