This seems like a rather benign regulation, and one with which it would be exceedingly easy to comply. However, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) feels so strongly about this particular requirement that he criticized it during testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee (which was examining the “state of the American workforce”):
I am concerned –- especially as the Governor of a Right to Work state — about the December announcement of the National Labor Relations Board announcing its intention to publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule requiring almost all private sector employers to post in the workplace a notice to employees outlining their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
The poster entitled, “Employee Rights” lists seven bullet points that state employees have the right to organize, form or join a labor union and repetitively state they have the right to negotiate their wages, benefits and working conditions with their employer. This is counterproductive and detrimental to the message we are trying to send in Virginia.
So to McDonnell, it is “counterproductive and detrimental” to inform workers of their rights? McDonnell concluded by saying that he hopes Congress “will move aggressively and quickly to remove the obstacles that hinder job growth in our great Commonwealth and nation.” He didn’t explain how a piece of paper hanging on the wall in any way blunts job creation.
McDonnell’s concerns notwithstanding, the proposed poster lays out important information for workers, including a section explaining what employers are not allowed to do if workers decide they want to unionize. In the last few decades, employers have become increasingly brazen in their union-busting activities. Under the NLRB, employers can’t fire workers or threaten to close a workplace if the employees explore unionizing. However, employers threaten to close plants in 57 percent of union organizing drives and threaten to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent, while ultimately firing pro-union workers 34 percent of the time.
A study from the Economic Policy Institute found that over the last 20 years “employer opposition [to unionization] has intensified…and the nature of campaigns has changed so that the focus is on more coercive and punitive tactics designed to intensely monitor and punish union activity.” And if it were up to McDonnell, workers would stay in the dark regarding whether such actions violate their rights and the law.