The National Labor Relations Board is expanding its outreach efforts to the immigrant community. Announced on August 1, 2013, the Board has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican States to provide Mexican employers, employees, and new Mexican immigrants, information about their labor law rights. According to NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, the purpose of the agreement is to “promote a broader awareness within the Mexican community of the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers, along with the services that the NLRB provides.”
Information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes the accord as an agreement that:
promotes and protects the labor rights of Mexican immigrants in the United States, especially the right to free association, regardless of their immigration status. Under this agreement, the Mexican consulates and the NLRB will take joint steps to inform Mexican workers of their right to join or be part of a union, elect a representative to negotiate on their behalf with employers, and work with other employees for their benefit and protection. It formalizes the relationship forged at the local level due to the work of the Mexican consulates. The agreement also increases ways in which possible violations of migrants’ job rights can be investigated and, if applicable, corrected. (Emphasis added).
The accord is notable in that both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and DC Circuits have invalidated the Board’s Notice Posting rule, which would have required most private sector employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The accord appears to be creating a similar form of employee rights notification for non-U.S. citizens.
The labor movement has been seeking ways in which to expand its influence in the wake of waning membership. The growing immigrant community is one such source of potential membership. Expect union leaders, therefore, to be extremely supportive of this Board outreach effort.