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U.S. DOL Requires Notice of Labor Rights

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Rule implements President Obama's executive order

A new rule published by the Department of Labor will ensure employees of federal contractors and subcontractors know their rights to join and form unions under the National Labor Relations Act.

The change means "more stable labor-management relations and a more engaged workforce, which in turn facilitates greater efficiency and timely completion of federal contracts," said John Lund, director of the department's Office of Labor-Management Standards in a news release announcing the regulation:

Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to post the prescribed employee rights notice at their workplaces. The notice lists employees' rights under the NLRA to form, join and assist a union and to bargain collectively with their employer; provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct that interferes with those rights; and indicates how employees can contact the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces those rights, with questions or complaints. The rule implements provisions of Executive Order13496, which was signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 30, 2009. The requirement for posting this employee notice must be included in every covered federal contract and subcontract.

No longer will contractors be able to obfuscate their employees' labor law rights. "Knowing you have rights guaranteed by law is a first step to exercising those rights," said AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka:

"The new rule published today by President Obama's Department of Labor will provide workers with a clear understanding of their rights and begin to break the stranglehold of anti-union propaganda in the workplace.

"For too long, our government has tried to walk back from its duty under the NLRA to promote - not simply tolerate - collective bargaining and the rights of workers to come together to improve their lives. Working people have been hurt by a workplace culture that puts corporate interests before workers' rights, aided and abetted by the actions of previous administrations."

Contractors that violate the requirements of the regulations may be subject to sanctions, including suspension or cancellation of the contract.