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October 22
1898 - Birth of Mary S. Ruiz, eldest child of Enrique & Rosaria Ruiz of San Francisquito Canyon; all died in 1928 dam disaster [cemetery census]


Commentary by Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
| Friday, Dec 27, 2013
Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Sometimes it seems like the different branches of government are about as skilled in communicating as those twin baby boys in the YouTube video titled “Talking Twin Babies.” (You should check it out. It’s hilarious.)

Everybody’s doing a lot of talking and finger-pointing, just like the two boys. And just like the parents of the two boys, the rest of us understand what they’re talking about as well as the parents do — which is to say, not at all.

Perhaps the latest example of this truth is the edict from the National Labor Relations Board.

If you are an employer or work for one, you already know that the employee lunch room, meeting room or filing room is wallpapered with various declarations from numerous sectors of our government.

They announce the minimum wage, what to do if you’re injured on the job, how to handle discrimination or harassment claims, and myriad other employment-related issues.

Employers actually face fines if they fail to post these notices.

Apparently, the National Labor Relations Board thought we needed one more. This has to do with employees’ rights to unionize.

The first question you may have is, “Is my workplace covered by the NLRB?”  According to the board, it likely is.

“The National Labor Relations Act, the legislation that created the NLRB, applies to employees in most private-sector workplaces, including manufacturing plants, retail centers, private universities and health care facilities.”

“Agricultural workers and domestic workers were excluded in the original law and are not covered. Also exempted are supervisors and independent contractors.”

So assume your business is covered by this regulation. What does the notice say? It states “that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities.”

The notice provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the National Labor Relations Board with questions or complaints.

The notice must be posted on at least 11-by-17-inch paper (or you could tape two 8.5-by-11 pieces of paper together). It can be in color or black-and-white and must be prominently posted.

And if an employer posts its employment rules and regulations online, then it must post this notice there, also.

If more than 20 percent of the workforce speaks something other than English, then the notice must be posted in that language(s).

Failure to do the required posting can be considered an unfair labor practice, and complaints can be brought before the National Labor Relations Board, which will investigate the charge.

Why the powers that be in Washington, D.C., suddenly decided the three employees at Joe’s Auto Body or the six workers at Mary’s Donuts needed written notification of their right to unionize is anyone’s guess.

But the fact is, in this economy, it’s simply wrong-headed. Instead of requiring more documents be printed and posted, let’s find a way to hire more people in good-paying, long-term jobs.

And my apologies to the two twin boys mentioned in the first paragraph. After considering it, I think they understand each other much better than most politicians. They’re certainly more interesting to listen to.

 

Carl Kanowsky of Kanowsky & Associates is an attorney in the Santa Clarita Valley. He may be reached by email at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice.

 

 

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