U.S. Chamber Says It Sues to Block NLRB Union Notice Rule

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it sued the National Labor Relations Board to block a rule that will require businesses to post notices about employees’ rights to unionize.

The Chamber, the biggest U.S. group representing business, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce said the rule proposed in August by the labor board violates federal laws, according to a statement issued today about the lawsuit.

“This is nothing more than labor regulation run amok,” Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber’s public-policy law firm, said in the statement. “The board’s new rule violates the First Amendment by forcing employers to use their own resources to post the NLRB’s pro-union message on the company’s own property.”

The NLRB, which investigates unfair labor practices, has ordered employers to post notices telling workers about their rights to form a union and bargain on contracts. Companies using posters to announce personnel rules or policies must add a notice about their bargaining rights, the NLRB said in an Aug. 25 statement. Postings must be completed Nov. 14.

The rule “is simply intended to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, just as other workplace posters inform employees of their rights under other laws,” Nancy Cleeland, NLRB spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

NLRB’s Powers

The NLRB lacks the power to coerce employers to post such notices or to impose penalties for those who don’t, according to the Chamber’s statement. The board failed to properly assess the economic cost the rule would have on small businesses, according to the Chamber.

The labor board’s proposal was praised by unions such as the 2.2-million-member Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation.

The labor board has been faulted by Republicans and business groups such as the Chamber that say it is pushing a pro-union agenda. Board opponents cite the April complaint against Boeing Co. (BA) that said the world’s largest aerospace company retaliated for worker strikes in its Seattle-area hub by building a plant in South Carolina, a state where employees aren’t required to join a union.

The case is Chamber of Commerce v. National Labor Relations Board, 11-02516, U.S. District Court for South Carolina.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Armour in Washington at sarmour@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net

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