NLRA Notice Compliance Date Nears – By John Hendrie

As of April 30, 2012, companies will be required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

As of April 30, 2012,  companies will be required to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. 
What might be the ramifications of this new requirement, for our employee population probably is a bit disconsolate?  More than likely, they feel that their share of the pain and gain has been out of whack.  Your employees know of the tough times.  They have watched you sacrifice, be extremely agile with the business (which in their eyes might mean layoffs, shorter shifts, frozen salaries, importing contract people and cheaper services).  They know sacrifice, whether on the home front or the business.  How they might respond to union organizing entreaties is anyone’s guess, but the times are ripe, and the audience is listening.  And, we are heading into our busy season – what a good time to hold our feet to the fire.
Essentially, the Poster displays the following:

  • A shorter window for a union petition and the election;
  • A different determination of who will be eligible to vote in that election;
  • Prominent posting of an employee’s right for Union representation.

The notice must be posted in English and in any other language where 20% or more of the employees speak a language other than English.  Foreign language translations of the poster can also be found on the NLRB website.  If the website does not provide a translation of the foreign language you are looking for, you are not required to post one in that language.  There are no record-keeping or reporting requirements related to the poster.
The notice should be posted in a conspicuous place, where other notifications of workplace rights and employer rules and policies are posted. Employers also should publish a link to the notice on an internal or external website if other personnel policies or workplace notices are posted there. 
A copy of the mandatory poster can be printed out for free on the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) website – http://www.nlrb.gov/poster.  If you fail to post the notice, the NLRB may consider it evidence of an unfair labor practice.
This posting may create some conversation, or not, really dependent upon the mood and attitude of your employee population.  You may sense that everything is just fine.  However, for those who are confident that they have their finger on the “pulse”, I encourage you to consider an Employee Survey; Find out what is on their minds, what are the concerns, the complaints.  You may be surprised with the response.  Naturally, do not do this if you are not willing to address the findings.  Other recommended courses of action as a good Management practice are to:

  • Absolutely ramp up your Communications forums and vehicles.  Communication must flow!      
  • Identify your vulnerabilities – it might be your policy and procedures, but it is most likely your practices, which govern the day to day.  Are they even, fair and consistent?      
  • Reeducate your management and supervision to be ever vigilant to signs of Union activity.  Arm them with knowledge and sensitivity.     
  • Have a Contingency Plan.     

Whether you agree or not with the regulation and the poster language, it will soon be law and you must abide.  In terms of information, this is an excellent source for your employees.  From a management point of view, you now can revisit your culture and practices and begin to sweep away the poor practices which may have been allowed in the last few years and serve as dissatisfiers for your workforce.  Spring suggests a new start – take advantage of the obvious.