Labor: The NLRB will not be ignored

The board’s power grab has been surprising and aggressive

For most employers, unless the workforce was already unionized or unionization was an imminent or constant threat, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) traditionally had little impact on day-to-day operations or planning. The NLRB's principal purpose is to enforce The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which is designed to protect workers who seek to engage in protected, concerted activity. Consequently, the NLRB rarely reached beyond activities that involved workers’ efforts to organize or bargain collectively with their employers.

Recently, however, the NLRB’s agenda has abruptly changed. The NLRB is using the NLRA’s Section 7 right to implement an agenda that directly and significantly affects the nonunionized employer. As these workforces account for more than 90 percent of workers in the U.S., the motivation for the jurisdiction grab is no mystery. The manner in which the NLRB has extended its relevance, however, has been surprising and, to many, far too aggressive.

Contributing Author

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Bryance Metheny

Bryance Metheny is a partner and employment attorney with Burr & Forman LLP (Birmingham, Ala.). He represents employers and managers in all aspects of labor...

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