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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suing the National Labor Relations Board over a new rule that will require employers to display an 11- by 17-inch poster that tells workers about their rights to unionize. Lawyers for the Chamber and for its local state affiliate filed their request for an injunction in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on Monday. The lawsuit is the latest example of the business-backed organization turning to the courts to try to turn back what the Chamber’s president, Thomas Donohue, has called a “tsunami” of regulation from the Obama administration. The lawsuit says the labor board does not have the authority under the National Labor Relations Act to require employers to display the notices. It also calls the notices “compelled speech” that employers have a right to be free from under the First Amendment. Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the group’s legal arm, said in a statement that the rule is “nothing more than labor regulation run amok.” Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, which specializes in labor and employment law, is representing the Chamber and its South Carolina affiliate. The labor board has heard similar criticisms since before it issued the final rule on Aug. 30. In explaining its position then, the board’s majority said it had sufficient authority under its rulemaking powers, and it disagreed with the idea that the rule violates the First Amendment. “The government, not the employer, will produce and supply posters informing employees of their legal rights,” the board’s explanation reads. “The government has sole responsibility for the content of those posters, and the poster explicitly states that it is an ‘official Government Notice’; nothing in the poster is attributed to the employer. In fact, an employer has no obligation beyond putting up this government poster.” Asked for comment on Tuesday, NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland wrote in an e-mail that the board stands by its authority. She added that “the posting of this notice, which is available at no charge on the NLRB website, is simply intended to inform employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, just as other workplace posters inform employees of their rights under other laws.” David Ingram can be contacted at [email protected].

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