UMKC Law Review
Employers should always be required to read notices aloud to their workers as a standard remedy for violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Such a remedy would be a small but essential step in redressing the harm inflicted on workers by an employer’s unfair labor practices. Such notices are necessary for a series of reasons. First, millions of Americans suffer from reading deficiencies and cannot comprehend a printed notice. Second, even literate employees may not happen to observe the printed notice at the workplace. Third, a mere piece of paper is unlikely to reassure victims of unfair labor practices that the employer will take rehabilitative action and respect their rights. Fourth, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that an employer's oral statements to her employees are usually more effective than written communications. Fifth, for the employer to stand before her workers and actually read the notice carries more symbolic weight than any posted notice could possess. Further, employers required to read notices might internalize some portion of what they speak, instead of simply having the notice posted.
Employers might also find themselves the beneficiaries of unexpected rewards. Workers might well appreciate the employer's openness, grow confident of their rights, and become more committed to their jobs. For these benefits to unfold, the National Labor Relations Board must show determination, and the courts must show restraint. The Board should resolutely issue reading orders and refuse to acquiesce in the interference of judges. The courts, in turn, must exercise self-discipline and cooperate with the Board's remedial efforts.
Far more must be done to free workers from the coercion of lawless employers. At a minimum, however, workers ought to receive fair and meaningful notice that their rights under the Act will be vindicated.
John W. Teeter, Jr., Fair Notice: Assuring Victims of Unfair Labor Practices That Their Rights Will Be Respected, 63 UMKC L. Rev. 1 (1994).