Will NLRB Force Employers to Give Unions Ability to Meet with Employees at Work and on Company Time?

Over 100 law school professors have urged the National Labor Relations Board to make a rule (since the Board is now fully ensconced in rule making) allowing unions to meet with non-union workers, on company property and in private, to urge them to vote in favor of union representation. If companies refused to allow such a meeting and later win a union election, the election results would be thrown out, a union-employee only meeting held, and a new election conducted. The proponents of this rule boldly state that it will “result in more collective bargaining, which the statutory policy of the National Labor Relations Act encourages.”

Interestingly, companies would be required to allow unions to hold these “captive audience” meetings as soon as an employer knows or thinks a union organizing drive is underway. While I disagree that employers should be forced to allow these meetings, holding them only after a petition for an election has been filed is more palatable. After all, union organizing drives can last for years, which raises a good question: how often must employers allow these meetings to occur? Furthermore, while not part of the proposal, I’m sure the Board will require employers to pay the workers their normal wage to attend the meeting.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.

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