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Moving The Needle: NLRB GC Announces Agency Process Changes

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On July 30, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) General Counsel’s Office issued a memo announcing some potentially significant process changes within the agency. One of the changes involves the establishment of committees within the various NLRB Regions that will be responsible for drafting pre-election decisions. For example, if the parties to a union election dispute the scope of the unit at issue, a designated committee will be responsible for researching the issue and drafting the order. According to the memo, the goal is to promote consistency “across Regional and District lines.” The memo also sets forth changes that may accelerate submissions to the agency’s Division of Advice and further recommends Regional Directors delegate more decision-making authority to managers, such as approving the dismissal or withdrawal of unfair labor practice charges in certain instances.

 

These changes follow an announcement by the agency earlier this year that significant process changes may be coming to the board. In January, Bloomberg BNA reported that NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb: “told [Regional] directors 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.” Accordingly, this July 30 memo signals these are some of the first steps being taken with a potentially larger overhaul.

 

Lawmakers have expressed concerns over these potential plans, but it appears the agency is moving forward. Stay tuned to see how the rest of this plays out.

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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