The National Association of Manufacturers made oral arguments yesterday in a lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board. NAM is suing the NLRB for issuing a rule that would require employers to post a notice of employee rights at workplaces, arguing that the board does not have the authority to make the rule.  NLRB issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to notify employees of the rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a notice.  The rule requires employers to begin posting the notice on January 31, 2012.

“We believe that it is solely within the purview of Congress to determine the expansion of or redefinition of an unlawful labor practice or an unfair labor practice,” said Joe Trauger, NAM vice president for human resources.  Trauger added that the poster rule is just one example of the NLRB’s “activist agenda.”  NAM’s internal polls show that nearly 70 percent of its members indicated that the board’s actions including the notice posting “would have a negative impact on their ability or willingness to expand and hire,” he said.

Another suit brought by the National Federation of Independent Business was consolidated with the NAM suit.  In addition, Representative John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, and 35 other Members filed an amicus brief in support of NAM’s case.

The NLRB maintains that, in order for employees to fully exercise their rights under National Labor Relations Act, employees must know that those rights exist, adding that the board has reason to believe most employees do not understand those rights.  The NLRB said that, although the board “agrees that it may not exercise its rulemaking authority in a way contrary to that intended by Congress,” it does not believe it is doing so with this rule.

President Obama has withdrawn the nomination of Craig Becker, a former union lawyer, who was a recess appointee to the board.  However, on December 14, the president announced his intent to nominate Sharon Block, a former Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee aide to then-Senator Edward Kennedy, and Richard Griffin, who is general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers, as members of the NLRB.