National Labor Relations Board Requires Union and Non-Union Employers to Post Notice of Employee Rights and Overturns Three Key Cases

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The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) has been extremely active in recent months and the last week of August was no exception. First, the Board issued a new rule that requires virtually every employer to post a notice of an employee’s rights under National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The notice is required regardless of whether or not the employer is a union workplace. Second, on August 26, 2011, the Board issued three decisions disregarding prior precedent, in order to achieve pro-union policy goals. In the first two decisions, UGL UNICCO Service Company, 357 NLRB No. 76 (Aug. 26, 2011), and Lamons Gasket Company, 357 NLRB No. 72 (Aug. 26, 2011), the Board overturned two recent decisions and resurrected the so called “successor” and “recognition” bar doctrines. These doctrines give unions a “reasonable period” following a change in corporate ownership or an employer’s voluntary recognition of a union during which the union’s representative status cannot be challenged. In the third decision, Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. 83 (Aug. 26, 2011), the Board overruled a 1991 decision concerning appropriate bargaining units in the healthcare industry and adopted a stringent test for determining whether a bargaining unit proposed by a union inappropriately excludes certain employees. Employers will need to take notice of both the new notice requirement and the Board’s reversal of its prior decisions and take appropriate steps to minimize the chance of future problems.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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