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Just In Case Your Missed This: Trump’s NLRB ‘Gives Employers More Rights’ When It Comes To Wearing Union Stickers & Buttons At Work

Published Tuesday, October 20, 2020
by Kris LaGrange/UCOMM Blog
Just In Case Your Missed This: Trump’s NLRB ‘Gives Employers More Rights’ When It Comes To Wearing Union Stickers & Buttons At Work

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Just in case you missed it, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued several rulings several months ago to further weaken Workers' voices on the job, including in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 146, where the NLRB gave employers the ability to limit Union buttons and stickers on the job.

At Wal-Mart, the company created a policy saying Employees can only wear a “small, non-distracting” Union insignia in the workplace.

The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart) challenged the rule since it is illegal for an employer to completely ban a Union insignia, they may have hoped the NLRB would rule that any restriction was a violation of Employees’ First Amendment Rights.

But this did not happen.

The NLRB instead ruled in favor of the company - saying that their policy limiting the size of Union buttons and stickers to no larger than the size of the Employee's name badge was legal and in compliance with NLRB rules.

The decision continues the NLRB’s push to limit the effectiveness of Unions on the job.

The decision in the case overrules a long-standing precedent that was developed in the Republic case.

Under Republic, the NLRB ruled any limitation from an employer was unlawful unless there was a special circumstance.

The reasons for a special circumstance were pretty narrowly defined.

However, in a 2017 decision, called Boeing - the NLRB ruled that employer handbooks limiting Union insignia were legal.

The Wal-Mart case now furthers the Boeing decision.

In her dissent, Democrat NLRB Board Member Lauren McFerran said: “The majority brushes aside Republic Aviation and its progeny and applies the less demanding standard from its deeply flawed decision in Boeing Company to find that the Respondent’s restriction of its Employees’ Section 7 right to wear Union insignia was lawful.  I fear (this) decision signals the majority’s intention to import the Boeing framework - which is less protective of Section 7 rights - into other well-settled areas of Board Law that currently require their own subject-matter specific analyses.  That surely would not be a welcome development for Workers.”

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