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Commercial litigation filed over unionization posters

Georgia business owners may remember that in 2010, President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring businesses to display posters advising employees about their rights to form or join a union. Many employers object to displaying the posters, and at least one lawsuit was ruled on earlier this year regarding those objections. In that commercial litigation the court ruled the posters go beyond what was intended by the National Labor Relations Act.

The current lawsuit, filed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), claims the posters violate the employers' right to free speech by compelling businesses to essentially advocate for the unionization of their workers. It further requests that the same ruling in the prior lawsuit should apply to federal contractors as well. Federal contractors and subcontractors employ nearly 16 million people, which is approximately 22 percent of the nation's workforce.

Technically, federal contractors could be denied contracts for not displaying the poster. However, a NAM spokesperson says she is not aware of any business being denied a federal contract for not displaying the poster. In the prior ruling, businesses were given the right to remove the poster if the employer objects to the language.

Posters regarding workplace safety and discrimination adorn the walls of every business. However, they are mandated by Congress and may not seem as objectionable to employers since the safety of employees and a discrimination free workplace does not hinder production. The union poster could potentially cause unnecessary issues for a business. Many Georgia businesses and federal contractors may watch this commercial litigation with interest.

Source: ktvn.com, Businesses again challenge union poster rules, Sam Hananel, Dec. 18, 2013

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