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Federal Court Temporarily Blocks NLRB's Union Posters Rule

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 18, 2012 8:47 AM

A federal court issued a temporary injunction Tuesday, blocking the National Labor Relations Board's new rule to require posters about union activity in the workplace.

The rule was set to take effect nationwide on April 30, the Associated Press reports. But legal questions about whether the NLRB has the power to require the union posters must be answered first, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in issuing the injunction.

The NLRB rule would require most private employers to display an 11-by-17-inch poster in a prominent place, explaining employees' rights to join a union and take part in collective bargaining, according to the Board.

The NLRB's union posters would also state that union officials can't coerce workers into joining a union, and that workers have a right to not join a union.

The NLRB posters are similar to other government agency-issued posters that describe anti-discrimination laws and workplace safety rules, according to the AP.

The key difference: Federal laws specifically require the anti-discrimination and workplace-safety posters be displayed in workplaces.

By contrast, the NLRB's union poster is not required by law, according to a federal judge in South Carolina. That judge ruled Friday that the NLRB exceeded its authority in approving the union poster requirement, the AP reports.

To counter that argument, the NLRB's attorneys insist the Board itself has the authority to require the posters in workplaces, and does not need Congress to specifically approve the poster program.

The NLRB union poster rule is now on hold until the appeal is decided, The Hill newspaper reports. An NLRB spokeswoman declined to comment.

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