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Headcount Reduction: NLRB Reportedly To Offer Buyouts In Effort To Trim Staff

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Following reports earlier this year regarding potential efforts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to reduce headcount, it appears the agency is heading in that direction. According to a new report from Bloomberg BNA, the agency is poised to start offering “buyouts” and early retirement packages to some staffers in the near future.

 

According to the report: “The move is likely to continue or accelerate the board’s trend toward a smaller footprint. Congress hasn’t increased the NLRB’s funding in at least four years, and agency staff has decreased significantly through attrition since 2002. The agency’s Republican leadership has been operating under an effective hiring freeze…The agency cut ‘nearly 20% of its field staff’ in recent years to make ends meet, according to its employees’ union. There are currently about 200 vacancies in its field offices, including some large regional offices that are without a director—such as Region 1, in Boston. Staffers in that office are currently overseen by and reporting to the regional director in Buffalo, N.Y.”

 

The anticipated move toward headcount reduction follows a significant announcement by NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb earlier this year regarding a potential complete reorganization of the agency. Specifically, Robb reportedly has informed agency employees that “he is considering reorganizing the agency’s 26 regional offices into a smaller number of districts or regions supervised by officials who would report directly to the general counsel, several sources said. Sources told Bloomberg Law they’re concerned that the general counsel wants to limit regional directors’ authority and possibly reduce the rank of at least some regional office officials. Regional directors currently have the authority to issue complaints and dismissals of unfair labor practice cases, and they render decisions in union representation cases.” Needless to say, such changes would have a significant impact on how the board operates and handles cases.

 

The ongoing reorganization plans and staffing levels at the agency remain an important issue to watch on the private sector U.S. labor relations front.

David Pryzbylski

Recently recognized as one of the top under-40 labor lawyers in the nation by Law360, David J. Pryzbylski’s interest in labor relations began early in high school, having grown up next to several of the largest steel mills in the world. Today, David is a Partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. Building on his interest in labor relations, he concentrates a large portion of his practice on assisting employers with traditional labor matters, including collective bargaining; work stoppages; arbitrations; union avoidance training and strategies; union representation elections; unfair labor practice charges; contract administration; and various other labor relations issues.

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