U.S. Chamber of Commerce sues NLRB over new union rule

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suing the National Labor Relations Board — an independent government agency tasked with conducting union elections and monitoring labor practices — to block a new rule requiring employers to post notices explaining employees’ rights to unionize.

In a complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, the Chamber argued the NLRB does not have the authority under the National Labor Relations Act to force employers to post the notifications, nor impose penalties for a failure to do so.

It also says the notification rule violates employers’ First Amendment rights “by compelling employers to post the NLRB’s ideological views on unionizing.”

“The NLRB has no authority to impose any of these requirements,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “This is nothing more than labor regulation run amok. Adding insult to injury, 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 maintains that its rulemaking authority is set out clearly in the National Labor Relations Act.

“This issue was addressed in detail in the rule itself,” NLRB spokesperson Nancy Cleeland said. “The rule also explains that the posting of this notice, which is available at no charge on the NLRB website, 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.”

The NLRB has become a high-profile target for Republicans and business groups this year after it released a spate of decisions that critics say unduly favor unions. Most controversial was the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing for “illegal retaliation” after the airplane manufacturer announced plans to open a new assembly line in South Carolina — a right-to-work state.