There have been many stories in the news lately about successful unionization efforts at the state and local level, and in particular franchises of larger companies. Employers may be concerned that employees may be encouraged by these current events to begin formal organization efforts of their own and wish to present a “both sides” view to employees to remind employees of their rights to reject unionization efforts, and the benefits and drawbacks of organized labor. Many employers have historically held mandatory meetings during work hours to educate employees of their rights to say no to unionization and present information on the employer’s perspective. These meetings have been permitted by legal precedent since the 1940s.
Employers would be wise to think twice before holding these meetings. The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Jennifer Abruzzo, has issued a memo indicating her intent to target these mandatory meetings and ask the NLRB to overturn the precedent that allows them. Abruzzo expressed her position that these meetings give employers an unfair advantage and limit employees’ freedom of choice. If precedent is overturned and such meetings are banned, employers will lose a valuable tool to resist efforts to unionize. It is unclear as to how far an NLRB ruling banning the meetings could go, and whether they could even erode employers’ efforts to hold required policy and procedure meetings during working hours.
The experienced employment law attorneys at myHRcounsel will be following the NLRB’s activity closely and will always provide you with the latest information on what you need to know to avoid running afoul of the NLRB.