New Orleans The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has proposed a rule that would require companies to post on their bulletin boards a notice informing workers that they have the legal right to organize. Conservatives, strong adherents of a philosophical belief in “total war” when it comes to class issues, are crying like stuck pigs about this harmless notice which would do nothing more than state the law. They know this is thin soup, but are howling like revolutionaries are at the company gates banging for entry.
It is true that such a notice might come as news to many workers. With union density now hardly more than 7% in private sector workplaces, the vast majority of American workers have no clue about unions and certainly have never been members of any union in their careers. Nonetheless it is doubtful whether such a notice is not going to organize a single new worker any more than the other required notices on such bulletin boards do a whole lot to stop wage theft despite minimum wage notices or access workman’s compensation benefits regardless of the size and bold print of such notices.
In fact it’s a safe bet that the only statistic that might be lower than the 7% union density would be the percentage of workers who have actually had 5 minutes to stand in front of such a bulletin board or for that matter actually could find it anywhere in the typical “hide-and-seek” of the workplace. The notice postings from the NLRB advising workers that an unfair labor practice has been found and alerting them that the company has agreed to not continue to break the law are good examples of how impotent such notices are in correcting illegal behavior by companies.
I’m not saying it’s irrelevant or doesn’t matter. I am saying that none of this makes much of a difference to anyone. The companies and their buddies know this, so they will scream and holler to send a real message to the NLRB more powerful than anything on a bulletin board, that they will find anything and everything tooth and nail.
For the NLRB’s part it’s better to try and do something rather than nothing, but they surely know a bulletin board notice is not something that adds teeth to the law, but more like an admonition to use floss for the teeth you want to keep. So, E for effort and F for any likely results.