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Appeals court strikes down NLRB poster rule

The New York Times (5/8, B8, Greenhouse, Subscription Publication) reports that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit “on Tuesday struck down a National Labor Relations Board rule requiring most private sector employers to post a notice informing employees of their right to unionize.” The court ruled that “the N.L.R.B.’s rule violated a federal law that bars the board from punishing an employer for expressing its views so long as those statements do not constitute threats of retaliation or force.” The rule had been under an injunction since April 2012. “The National Association of Manufacturers applauded the court’s ruling, calling it ‘an important victory in the fight against an activist N.L.R.B. and its aggressive agenda.'” The NAM statement also said, “The poster rule is a prime example of a government agency that seeks to fundamentally change the way employers and employees communicate,” adding, “The ultimate result of the N.L.R.B.’s intrusion would be to create hostile work environments where none exist.”

The Wall Street Journal (5/8, Trottman, Subscription Publication) reports that the NLRB could file an appeal either to the full court or to the US Supreme Court. It also quotes NAM’s president Jay Timmons saying, “The poster rule is a prime example of a government agency that seeks to fundamentally change the way employers and employees communicate.”

The AP (5/8, Hananel) calls it “another blow to the nation’s dwindling labor unions,” saying that “unions had hoped the posters would help them boost falling membership, but business groups argued that they were too one-sided in favor of unionization.” Opponents included, “the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups [who] complained that the regulation violated free speech rights by forcing employers to display labor laws in a way that some believed was too skewed in favor of unionization.” NAM president Timmons said, “Today, manufacturers claim an important victory in the fight against an activist NLRB and its aggressive agenda.”

Bloomberg News (5/8, Schoenberg) reports, “The regulation was challenged by the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation and other business lobby groups who claimed enactment of the rule would affect more than 6 million employers who otherwise wouldn’t be subject to NLRB regulation.”

The Hill (5/8, Wilson) reports in its “Regwatch” blog, “There is a separate appellate case on the issue pending before a federal court in South Carolina, and the NLRB said it is awaiting that decision.” NAM president Timmons “pledged to remain vigilant against the ‘rogue’ NLRB.” Timmons is quoted as above.

The Christian Science Monitor (5/7, Richey) reports, “The rule, enacted in 2011 by the National Labor Relations Board, said failure to display the notice in the workplace and on a company’s website would be deemed an unfair labor practice.” And “labor leaders said the decision was a setback that would undermine workers’ rights. Business groups hailed the opinion as an important victory.” Timmons is quoted as above. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka accused the court of using “twisted logic” in an “absurd” ruling.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (5/8, Von Bergen) reports in its “Jobbing” blog, “The National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers are crowing over Tuesday’s appellate court decision.”

The Business Journals (5/7, Hoover) reports, “The ruling pleased the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers, which sued the NLRB over the rule.” It quotes Timmons as above, adding, “Stopping the NLRB’s burdensome agenda of placing itself into manufacturers’ day-to-day business operations is essential to preventing further government-inflicted damage to employee relations in the United States.”

Reuters (5/8, Ingram) calls the ruling a victory for the NAM, but does not quote Timmons.

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