On April 13, 2012, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) exceeded its authority by issuing a rule mandating that employers post a notice about employees’ right to unionize. In Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. National Labor Relations Board, United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Case No. 11-cv-02516, Judge David C. Norton granted summary judgment in favor of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, ruling that the NLRB erred in issuing the posting requirement. Another challenge to the NLRB’s rule, filed by the National Association of Manufacturers and other groups, had been largely rejected in a March 2, 2012 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
As of the writing of this article, Judge Norton had not yet issued an injunction or other formal relief to plaintiffs in the South Carolina case. Moreover, it seems likely that the NLRB will seek to stay Judge Norton’s order pending appeal. Finally, the D.C. District Court’s decision is on appeal. Given judicial developments in this area, the NLRB may postpone the effective date of the rule again, or there may be some further judicial decision in advance of April 30, 2012, the deadline that had been set for the postings. We suggest that employers consult with counsel to decide how to proceed, in light of these developments.
Amy G. McAndrew