Unions scowl, employers beam. Just what do employees need to know?

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James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor

First of all, to all the pro-union and pro-management types: Thanks for reading. Too bad only one of you can be happy after Tuesday's federal appeals court ruling that tossed a National Labor Relations Board decree. But it ought to be that way.

In brief, a federal appellate court called “hooey” on an NLRB mandate that says workplaces must display posters telling workers about their ability to unionize.

This blog posting is neither pro-management nor pro-union. It is pro-common sense.

Approaching it simply, if employers would have to inform workers of all their civil liberties and rights, only the biggest employers with the most bulletin board space could ever come close to compliance. The NLRB over-reached when it pressed for this rule in December 2010. Not every rule, tip or good idea should have to be publicized by employers such as long-term care providers.

The list could go on and on, with some ideas sounding more credible than others. This wasn't one of them.

After two lower courts differed on whether the labor board had overstepped its powers, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined that it had.

Citing several Supreme Court rulings, the circuit court noted that employers have the right to not only disseminate views, but also not to disseminate them. The court also referred to First Amendment rulings that say the government cannot tell people or groups what they have to say.

One would like to think the issue is settled once and for all, but that's not the case. The NLRB said it is still mulling its next possible move. Meanwhile, another Circuit Court of Appeals also is weighing the legality of the rule.

It's hard to believe this one could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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