The NLRB Is At It Again
The National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) has kicked off 2013 with grand aspirations. According to a recent Wall Street Journal Editorial, the NRLB is “grabbing a vast new mission: Regulating the workplaces of companies that have no union at all.” The origins of this latest overreach stem from an obscure provision known as “Protected Concerted Activity” from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, which allowed employees to freely interact and talk in the office without fear of management reprisal. This provision has since become obsolete since workers have acquired new protections, making concerted activity violations fairly uncommon in the workplace.
The man behind this ploy is none other than NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon. Mr. Solomon, who mastermind organized labor’s attempt to keep Boeing out of South Carolina, is now trying to make the case that concerted activity protection and workers right to organize are somehow mutually exclusive. Compounding the chaos, the NLRB is now looking control how companies regulate social media. According the same editorial, “workers who bully their colleagues on Facebook publicly complain that co-workers got promotions, or who us expletives to disparage their bosses or companies or social media are apparently all engaged in protected ‘concerted activity.’”
The NLRB is supposed to be “a neutral arbiter of fair labor practice” but the board’s actions over the last four years have been anything but.