Beneath well-settled, decades-old precedent, employers have traditionally been free to maintain necessary “captive audience” conferences to educate workers, share views on unionization, and talk about what workers’ rights are with respect to the similar. Nevertheless, on April 7, 2022, the NLRB General Counsel (“GC”) issued a memorandum stating her intent to ask the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (“Board”) to rethink this rule, and overturn 75 years of precedent permitting an employer to maintain “captive audience” conferences. However the plain wording of Part 8(c) of the NLRA, the GC takes the place that such necessary conferences are inconsistent with workers’ rights beneath the NLRA. In accordance to the GC, “captive audience” conferences chill workers’ Part 7 rights to chorus from listening to employer speech concerning unionization. She argues that employers usually use threats to coerce workers to attend necessary conferences, and due to this fact these conferences fall outdoors the scope of statutory and constitutional free speech protections. As an alternative, she’s going to urge the Board to require that an employer should clarify to workers that their attendance at these conferences is actually voluntary. Whereas this memorandum doesn’t change present regulation, it indicators the GC’s intent to carry unfair labor follow expenses in opposition to an employer for holding “captive audience” conferences so as to carry the challenge earlier than the Board.
Employers at the moment concerned in campaigning efforts must be cautious when holding necessary conferences. Some employers might want to rethink whether or not to maintain necessary “captive audience” conferences—and as an alternative maintain voluntary conferences—till the GC finds a check case and the Board guidelines on the challenge. Beneath the present Democratic majority, the Board might agree with the GC’s place and maintain that necessary conferences are illegal, and overrule over 75 years of precedent. Nevertheless, any such ruling would elevate critical points beneath Part 8(c) of the NLRA and the First Modification of the U.S. Structure and would virtually actually be appealed to the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals.