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Poster rule requiring notice of union rights is struck down by DC Circuit

Posted May 8, 2013 11:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has struck down a rule requiring employers to post a notice advising workers of their rights, including the right to form or join a union.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the rule in an opinion (PDF) issued on Tuesday, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), the New York Times, an ABA Media Alert and the National Law Journal. The rule was issued by the National Labor Relations Board and it applied to some six million companies subject to its jurisdiction.

The appeals court said the rule violated a section of the National Labor Relations Act protecting the expression of views. The rule said failure to post the notice was an unfair labor practice, conflicting with Section 8(c) of the NLRA that prohibits such a finding when employer speech is noncoercive, the appeals court said.

The appeals court also cited a Supreme Court opinion stating that Section 8(c) implements the First Amendment, as well as other precedent on free speech protections against compelled speech.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the poster rule is a symbol of broader tensions surrounding the NLRB. Democrats and unions say the board is reversing years of rulings that unfairly favored businesses, while Republicans and business groups say it is aggressively bolstering unions.

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