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Advisory: One Court Rejects Union Rights Poster and Another Stops the April 30 Posting Deadline

Our Troutman Sanders LLP Labor & Employment Group just sent out an Advisory on the NLRB’s Union Rights Poster Rule.  In a nutshell, the Rule — which requires employers to put up posters informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act — was supposed to go into effect on April 30, 2012.  However, a federal district court last week found the rule to be invalid.

Further, while an earlier federal court decision upheld part of the rule, that decision is on appeal and the appellate court just issued an order stopping the rule for going into effect on April 30 and putting it “on ice” until the appeal can be decided.  It will likely be at least September 2012, if not later, before that appeal is decided.  Oh, and what ever that decision is, the case may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court before all is said and done.

You can read all the details on these court decisions here.  But the key points for HR professionals to understand now are:  (1) no posters need to go up by April 30, and (2) stay tuned for more developments.

1 comment

1 Colin { 11.10.12 at 1:17 am }

The headline about uionns failing to learn a lesson here is disingenuous especially with regard to American Airlines. In 2003 the same set of circumstances (rising fuel costs, plummeting stock price, critically low cash reserve) resulted in AA on the brink of bankruptcy. The uionns stepped up and negotiated huge pay and benefit cuts to keep AA solvent. Pilots took a disproportionate share of the cuts. 2500 pilots lost jobs. 25% pay cuts were doubled for pilots demoted from captains to first officer resulting in 50%+ pay cuts. Not more than 2 years later in the midst of a potentially enormous turnaround prompted by “best in class” analysis and union cooperation was killed stone cold dead when management took huge “performance” bonuses (even as AA lost $800M). The result was that corporate greed while the union workers who sacrificed got nothing began a downward spiral of mismanagement and inept corporate leadership. New CEO Tom Horton is getting his wish to abrogate union contracts and eliminate protective work rules. Unions balance corporate power. If one gets too far out of balance the collective bargaining or bankruptcy forces the pendulum back to the center. In this case American Airlines corporate management took their power and greed beyond the limits ultimately screwing the very workers that kept it solvent for the past 8 years with $1.6B in annual give-backs. And it screwed millions of share-holders, vendors and financiers. Don’t be blaming the uionns here they were trying to get back some tiny piece of their original sacrifices in 2003. Blame Tom Horton, Gerard Arpey and the rest of the “team” who ran AA into the ground while other airlines found merger partners, sharpened their route structure and found a way to make a profit. Southwest has higher pay rates of any airline yet they are thriving. It is not the cost of labor, it is the price AA paid for pitiful management that resulted in AA’s filing.

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