How the NLRB Wants to Encourage Unions For Your Non-Union Workers

By Eric B. Meyer

As you all know, the National Labor Relations Board has taken quite a beating recently in the courtroom. First, the Board was forced to delay requiring employers to post a union-rights poster in the workplace. Then, a federal court voided the Board’s “quickie” union-election rules.

But, this Board is resilient. This Board is determined to encourage your employees to seek strength in numbers. How does the Board plan to spread its message?

This Board won’t back down.

Highlighting “protected concerted activity”

Which is why on Monday, it unveiled a new NLRB website designed to … well, why don’t I let Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pierce explain. This comes from the website press release:

We think the right to engage in protected concerted activity is one of the best kept secrets of the National Labor Relations Act, and more important than ever in these difficult economic times. Our hope is that other workers will see themselves in the cases we’ve selected and understand that they do have strength in numbers.”

The press release further underscores this point:

The right to engage in certain types of concerted activity was written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act’s Section 7, which states that: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.” (Board’s emphasis, not mine).

(Well, at least the Board didn’t highlight everything before the last line. Then again…)

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The NLRB’s goal? Encouraging unionization

Here’s the first sentence from the new website:

The law we enforce gives employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions or fix job-related problems, even if they aren’t in a union.”

Make no mistake: even though unions are having trouble gaining a foothold in the private sector, the Board is doing what it can to encourage unionization.

As I’ve written before, now is no time for employers to rest on their laurels. If you want to keep your workplace union-free, then educate your employees and supervisors and, above all, give your employees the respect that they deserve.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.


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