Department of Labor Directive Expands Impact of New Labor Rights Posting Requirements For Federal Contractors

As we previously reported here, by Executive Order 13496, the Obama administration revoked Executive Order 13201 issued by the Bush administration requiring that providers of goods or services to the executive branch to post a Beck notice informing employees of their rights to not join a union and their right to not pay agency fees associated with the political and other non-representation activities of a union (the so-called "Beck" rule based on a US Supreme Court decision of the same name).  

As required by Executive Order 13496, on May 20, 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule effective June 21, 2010, requiring federal contractors with prime contracts over $100,000 and federal subcontractors with subcontracts over $10,000 to instead post notices informing employees of certain rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, affected employers are now required to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the NLRA to form a union, to join a union, to support a union; provides examples of conduct by employers and conduct by unions that interferes with those rights; and states how employees can contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to ask questions or to file complaints.While new posting notice requirements might not in themselves reflect a fundamental change in the balance of rights and risks in the workplace, additional new rules issued as a directive without formal rule making by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) do suggest a shift in enforcement practice at the federal level that requires close attention to the extent it marks the beginning of a far more active inter-agency coordinated enforcement driven approach on labor issues.The new June 15, 2010 OFCCP directive provides that federal compliance officers on federal contracts, Davis-Bacon, and other American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus projects will inspect work sites for compliance with the new posting requirements as well as inspecting contractual language for compliance language. Because compliance enforcement is intended to be shared, at first with the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), the directive marks a  new and untested era of inter-agency enforcement and information sharing. While no specific enforcement sharing with the NLRB has yet been formally announced, such a functional extension of coordination is possible and with it the use of the unfair labor practice provisions of the Act. This means notice posting will play a role in future organizing campaigns

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