April 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 105

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NLRB Suffers Significant Turnover in Agency Staffing

In a report released on March 29, 2021, the Governmental Accountability Office (“GAO”) announced that between fiscal years 2010 and 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) experienced a 26% decrease in total staff. The most significant reductions taking place in Regional offices which saw a 33% reduction compared to only an 8% reduction at the Board’s headquarters.

A Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey revealed that NLRB employees were increasingly dissatisfied with the sufficiency of resources and the overall organization in recent years. The report mentioned that staff have expressed concern about workloads and warned the Board of overburdening staff and compromising the quality of work.

Although the Board’s total number of cases (representation cases and unfair labor practice cases) dropped by 22% since 2010; the significant decline in regional staffing outpaces the decline in cases. The report noted that this reduction could exacerbate the burden on current staff.

The reduction in staff is also coupled with a growth in unobligated funds. In the NLRB’s 2019 fiscal year, more than $5 million of the year’s appropriations were not obligated. The GAO reported that total appropriations fell from $283 million in 2010 to $274 million in 2019; a decrease of 17% when allowing for inflation. The Board, according to the report, therefore, experienced a $46 million decline in purchasing power.

To combat these issues, the GAO made the following recommendations for the NLRB:

  1. Develop objective and quantifiable performance measures, with associated target levels of performance, for timeliness and quality for unfair labor practices and representation cases; organizational excellence; and resource management;

  2. Develop mechanisms to ensure that the quality review of case files is conducted in a manner consistent with agency guidance;

  3. Evaluate performance pressure on personnel and make resource adjustments as necessary; and

  4. Develop mechanisms to improve communication with the key internal stakeholders to increase transparency and collaboration in implementing agency policies.

The NLRB has agreed to these recommendations. We anticipate as a result of the adoption of these recommendations that there will be an increased focus on hiring in the NLRB regional offices, and in turn, the NLRB will increase their caseload.

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© 2021 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 90
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TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

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About this Author

Steven Porzio Labor & Employment Attorney Proskauer Rose New York, NY
Partner

Steven J. Porzio is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Labor-Management Relations Group. Steve assists both unionized and union-free clients with a full range of labor and employee relations matters. He represents employers in contract negotiations, arbitrations, and representation and unfair labor practice cases before the National Labor Relations Board. 

Steve has experience conducting vulnerability assessments and providing management training in union and litigation avoidance, leave management, wage and hour, and hiring and firing...

212-969-3079
Associate

Shanice Smith-Banks earned her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she was a Managing Editor of the Loyola University Journal of Public Interest Law and a member of the Trial Advocacy program. As a 3L, Shanice was awarded the CourtCall Award for her advocacy skills.

Immediately upon graduation from Loyola, Shanice argued a case on behalf of the Loyola Criminal Defense Law Clinic in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

504-310-2023
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