Freedom from Fear, Workers' Right to Know and Collective Bargaining

The Obama Administration is moving forward to protect the rights of workers, especially the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively. The NLRB has finalized a rule requiring employers to post a notice on both their physical bulletin-boards as well as any company intranet sites informing employees of their legal right to organize. The Department of Labor already requires such notices for federal contractors, and now the NLRB rule expands it to all employers under the National Labor Relations Act.

Of course, big business is very uncomfortable with workers being made aware of the rights they already have. Multinationals depend on keeping workers in the dark about their rights in order to exploit them and ultimately take away those rights.
The labor board originally proposed the regulations last November, and the proposal has faced widespread criticism from the business community, which has said the move was part of the board’s pro-labor tilt under President Obama.

When the board issued its original proposal, Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce, said: “These actions are consistent with a general ramp-up of enforcement against employers we are seeing across the board.”
WHAT? The National Labor Relations Board has a pro-labor tilt? Oh. My. God. Stop the presses! And how dare the Obama administration enforce labor laws on the employers? I mean it's not like the executive branch is charged with enforcement of our laws or anything like that. That a Chamber oligarch would even say this in public shows how of touch they are.

Not only would a notice inform workers of their affirmative rights, it will also inform them the legal prohibitions against employer retaliation for union organizing activity. They left the following proposed notice (which was originally proposed in November 2010) largely intact.
Under the NLRA, it is illegal for your employer to:

Prohibit you from soliciting for a union during non-work time, such as before or after work or during break times; or from distributing union literature during non-work time, in non-work areas, such as parking lots or break rooms.

Question you about your union support or activities in a manner that discourages you from engaging in that activity.

Fire, demote, or transfer you, or reduce your hours or change your shift, or otherwise take adverse action against you, or threaten to take any of these actions, because you join or support a union, or because you engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection, or because you choose not to engage in any such

Threaten to close your workplace if workers choose a union to represent them.

Promise or grant promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to discourage or encourage union support.

Prohibit you from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts, and pins in the workplace except under special circumstances.

Spy on or videotape peaceful union activities and gatherings or pretend to do so.
But the surprise might come in equal measure to President Obama's detractors on the Left. After all, they have been telling us how impotent and pro-corporate this administration is. So pro-corporate they are forcing corporations to inform workers of their rights. So pro-corporate they are proposing rules to speed up unionization elections, administratively blocking moving plants just to avoid union labor, and so pro-corporate he is issuing rules almost as though he wants more workers to unionize! This is very unsettling. It doesn't fit that corporate-sellout Obama mold.

But still, Obama didn't walk the picket lines personally in Wisconsin and Ohio. And he didn't, by the magic of podium pounding and bully-pulpitting, make card check the law of the land. So there. Wuaaaa.

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