NLRB General Counsel Announces Commitment to Inter-Agency Coordination
On February 7, 2022, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment issued a report recommending, among other things, increased coordination among agencies working on labor and employment matters. In a memorandum circulated on February 10, 2022, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer A. Abruzzo announced her agreement with that recommendation and directed her officers to increase coordination with their counterparts at other agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor. Abruzzo noted that while several of her office’s existing memoranda lay out guidelines for coordination with other agencies, those guidelines and related efforts need to be strengthened.
Among the areas regarding which greater collaboration is needed, Abruzzo highlighted the already-announced interagency goal of combatting retaliation, which we discussed in an earlier article here. Abruzzo also emphasized the importance of coordinating with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division with respect to unfair and anticompetitive practices harmful to employees’ labor rights. She further noted the value of coordination with other agencies—such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice’s Employee Immigrant Rights Section—with a view to ensuring the labor rights of immigrant workers. Additionally, she pointed out the need for coordination among agencies in their ongoing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased coordination, Abruzzo explained, would enable the NLRB to help secure workers’ rights to union representation, protect them from systemic abuses such as discrimination or retaliation, reduce the gender and racial wage gaps, and promote economic opportunity, fairness, and employee mobility.