By Nelson Cary and Samantha Stilp

The comment period for the National Labor Relations Board proposed rule requiring employers to post notice informing workers of their right to unionize officially ended last week.  Nearly 6,500 comments reveal strong opposition to the rule from all types of employers.

Those filing comments opposing the rule focused on three main issues. First, the comments questioned the NLRB’s authority to make such a rule. Second, commenters expressed concern that the text of the proposed notice was one-sided, containing information about rights of employees to join unions, but omitting information regarding employees’ rights to decertify a union, object to certain union dues/fees, and seek relief against unions for lack of fair representation. Finally, commenters criticized the potential penalties for violation of the rule.  All of the comments to the proposed rule are available online.

In addition to these general concerns, retailers and manufacturers, as well as organizations representing each, expressed frustration with the electronic notice requirement. Comments concerning the electronic notice requirement urged that such notice would place significant burdens on employers and create a “troubling precedent” of using employer email systems to provide union information to employees.

If promulgated, the notice requirement rule would be problematic for employers on many grounds. For now, employers are encouraged to be watchful for the NLRB’s next step with regard to the proposed rule. The proactive labor professional may also want to begin planning for the possibility that the rule will be adopted, thus requiring the posting of the proposed notice.  It is uncertain when the NLRB may take additional action on the proposed rule.