Very recently, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released a blog about President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14025 which affirms the Administration’s policy to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining and established the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The OFCCP stated that workers are facing an increase in barriers to organizing and bargaining collectively with their employers citing that in 2021, only 10% are unionized compared to the 30% that were in the 1950’s. The President’s EO aimed to bring attention to unionization and to increase the visibility of a prior EO on this subject, EO 13496.
The blog went on to remind the federal contract community that the OFCCP is charged with protecting America's workers by ensuring that those who do business with the federal government are accountable for fulfilling the promise of equal opportunity. The agency further reminded the community that it shares the responsibility of ensuring compliance on Executive Order 13496 with the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
Specifically, Executive Order 13496 requires certain federal contractors and their subcontractors (both supply and service and construction) to post notices informing employees of their rights under the NLRA, the law that governs relations between unions and employers in the private sector. The required notice informs employees about their rights to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union, or to refrain from all such activity.
The requirements for federal contractors are:
- To post the required employee notice “conspicuously in and around their plants and offices so that it is prominent and readily seen by employees who are covered by the NLRA and who engage in contract-related activity.”
- To post the required notice electronically (if they communicate with employees electronically) where they customarily place other electronic notices to employees about their jobs, including a link to the Department of Labor’s website for employee notices; and
- To insert provisions in their subcontracts that require their subcontractors to also comply with these same posting requirements.
To further drive the point home, the OFCCP’s blog reminded its readers that the agency conducts physical inspections of contractor establishments (and, as appropriate, of contractor websites) to determine compliance and is charged to investigate complaints of noncompliance. (Employees, including former employees, can file a complaint with OLMS or OFCCP if the employee believes that a company has failed to comply with Executive Order 13496.) During the review and/or investigation of a complaint, the OFCCP may inspect subcontracts and purchase orders to ensure language regarding the posting requirements. OLMS, not the OFCCP, is the agency tasked with enforcement and has the authority to impose penalties and sanctions for noncompliance with Executive Order 13496. OFCCP’s Directive 2010-01 provides further guidance and information.
So, if you question whether your workforce is informed of their rights under the NLRA, you should review and perhaps update your notice posting strategy. If you (as a federal contractor or subcontractor) need a poster - available in various languages - you can obtain one by downloading it free of charge from the OLMS website. Questions on this issue can be directed to your consultant or you can directly contact OLMS at OLMS-Public@dol.gov or 202-693–0123.