Friday, August 26, 2011

New Poster Coming To Your Break Room!

The National Labor Relations Board has passed a rule requiring all employers to put up a new poster starting in November. It will sit next to the ones already mandated by state labor agencies. This new poster will outline employee rights to form unions as outlined in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (or as its truncated for ease of use, the Wagner Act). The poster would be a modest 11x17 and hopefully look a lot like this one found on the Montana Department of Labor and Industry website.

Seems pretty straight forward, doesn't it? A new poster that talks about workers rights will be up soon. How many people actually read those when enjoying a few minutes in the breakroom? What's really eye catching was the reaction this announcement has garnered from the anti-union "Business Groups". The negative sentiment toward the ruling isn't the shocking part. Rather the level of ire its raised with said groups in their public reactions to the finalizing of the rule.

AFL-CIO blog writer Mike Hall highlights some interesting responses in his post on the matter:

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) calls it an “unprecedented overreach of its authority… a punitive new rule…a new low…a trap for millions of businesses.”

Peter Schaumber, a former NLRB chairman appointed by former President George W. Bush, told Bloomberg News, “It’s arbitrary, it’s capricious.”

On the right-wing website GOPUSA, the new rule is “another disgusting government intrusion into private business.”

This goes to show the lengths to which those who wish to keep the notion of an organized workforce as far away from their little corner of capitalism as possible. It underlines the times in which we live and the need for everyone to understand the battlefield on which they stand. Your non-union employer will do anything they can to keep their control on your workplace. The idea of putting up a poster which highlights a seventy year old law, is enough to break the glass and sound alarms.

Its easy for a former artist now organizer to bray about the importance of acting cohesively when its not my neck thats exposed. However, its also important to remember that while you're enjoying your two-days off to rest and recoup, you can thank a union who fought to establish the weekend as a such a time.

2 comments:

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Well at least it's just hanging up a poster and nothing more. I shudder to think of a world where we'd have to clean the framed portraits of a ruler or else someone turns us in (since that happens).

Steven Kaplan said...

Don't shudder .. stand up and be heard. At the pace this country is moving, we'll be back in a time when the middle class is gone and someone will be saying you should eat cake instead.

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