After a union prevails in a representation election, the Board issues the company a “Certification of Representative.” Recently, the Board has also begun issuing a new document titled “Notice of Bargaining Obligation” (Notice) along with the Certification of Representative. This new document explains to a union and employers the employer’s collective bargaining obligations after a union has won an election.
A closer look at the Notice reveals that it is nothing more than a roadmap for how unions can file unfair labor practice charges against employers. The Notice explains that employers cannot unilaterally change bargaining unit employees’ terms and conditions of employment beginning on the date of election and sets forth the steps an employer must take to alter the terms and conditions of employment during the pendency of post-election proceedings. The Board goes a step further and highlights the potential liabilities employers face if they unilaterally alter terms and conditions of employment. The Notice also provides that such changes violate Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act providing encouragement to unions to file charges pursuant to these Sections.
This Notice is yet another move the activist Board has taken to increase its visibility to employees. The Notice highlights some of the many issues faced by employers who suddenly find themselves dealing with a labor union. I’ve said for years that the current NLRB has done a phenomenal job in advertising how they can help employees; this is another well-played advertisement.