April 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 105

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While Increasing Public Outreach, NLRB Staffs Up for Greater Enforcement Efforts

With the PRO Act still pending before the Senate and the President acting quickly to support his labor constituents, employers already have a lot on their plates. However, recent changes at the NLRB indicate that even more change is on the way. In fact, to an outsider it may appear the agency is ramping up for the increased business it expects to see due to new promotional efforts. 

On March 31, the NLRB announced the launch a new Spanish language version of its website and two Spanish language Twitter accounts for news and decisions. These steps are part of a commitment from NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran and Acting General Counsel Peter Ohr to increase the NLRB’s presence and public outreach, and particularly to educate Spanish-speaking workers of their rights under federal labor law. Tellingly, McFerran acknowledged a priority on making it easier for workers to “figure out how to make use of the agency’s resources.”

This comes on the heels of a report released on March 29 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which found that NLRB staff had decreased by 26 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2019, with the reductions most heavily impacting regional offices. During that same time period, the NLRB’s appropriations decreased by 17 percent. Given those data points, it’s not surprising that NLRB staff reported in an employee survey that they are increasingly dissatisfied with their workload and available resources.

McFerran and Ohr both responded quickly to the GAO report by committing publicly to “rebuilding the agency’s capacity” and “righting the ship.” For employers, an increase in staffing at the NLRB will inevitably result in an increase in enforcement activity, both in the terms of the number of new case filings and the scope of the NLRB’s investigation of pending cases.

Bottom line: The NLRB is open for business and actively seeking a new influx of customers to go along with their efforts to increase staffing. With this in mind, employers will be well served to reach out the Barnes & Thornburg attorney with whom they work to proactively prepare for increased scrutiny.

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© 2021 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 91
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About this Author

Partner

Leaning on more than 20 years of knowledge and experience in reading a table, Grant seeks out common ground to reach his client’s objectives. The majority of his practice focuses on consulting and representing private sector entities – including several large healthcare providers and several well-known mass transit systems – in traditional labor relations and general personnel matters. Grant’s goal is to help his clients avoid unnecessary employer-employee challenges by identifying issues before problems arise, skillfully negotiating resolutions, or vigorously defending actions to the...

616-742-3911
David G. Weldon Labor & Employment Attorney Barnes & Thornburg Chicago, IL
Of Counsel

Business owners, in-house counsel and human tesources professionals turn to David Weldon for pragmatic, strategic advice regarding labor and employment law matters that takes into account legal risk and their ultimate business objectives. David advises and partners with employers of all sizes, assesses and helps to minimize liability, resolves disputes, and finds solutions for day-to-day issues involving employees and unions.

David defends employers in state and federal courts across the country in single-plaintiff and class and collective action litigation involving trade secrets,...

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