A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. on Tuesday struck down National Labor Relations Board regulations that required workplaces to display a poster about worker's federal rights.

The NRLB issued new regulations in 2011 that required companies to inform employees about their rights to unionize under federal law. The posting included telling employees they have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities.

Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who wrote the decision (PDF), said the First Amendment prohibited the government from compelling businesses to speak. He said the NRLB exceeded its authority by treating failure to post a notice as evidence of unfair labor practices.

The court previously invalidated the President's three recess appointments to the NLRB by claiming that Congress was taking "a recess," not "the Recess."

Not surprisingly, unions denounced the latest ruling while conservatives championed it.

"The Republican judges of the D.C. Circuit continue to wreak havoc on workers’ rights," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. "After attempting to render the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) inoperable (in the Noel Canning decision), the D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law."

The National Association of Manufacturers, which initiated the lawsuit against the regulation, declared victory.

"The poster rule is a prime example of a government agency that seeks to fundamentally change the way employers and employees communicate. The ultimate result of the NLRB’s intrusion would be to create hostile work environments where none exist. The U.S. Court of Appeals has rightfully ruled that the NLRB has no authority to enforce notice posting," President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

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