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NLRB chair commits to rebuilding staffing levels


National Labor Relations Board chairman Lauren McFerran said Monday she is committed to rebuilding the agency’s capacity, reacting to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report that said the agency’s staffing was significantly reduced between fiscal years 2010 and 2019.

The GAO said in its report Monday that the number of NLRB staff members decreased by 26%, to 1,281, in fiscal year 2019 from 1,733 in fiscal year 2019, which stakeholders partly attributed to a 22% decline in the NLRB’s caseload. 

The report said staff reductions were about four times greater, or 33% compared to 8%, in NLRB’s regional offices, where casework originates, than in headquarters.

The report also said the NLRB’s appropriations decreased by about 17% during this period, when the effects of inflation are considered.

Ms. McFerran, a Democrat whom President Biden named chair in January, said in her statement, “The lack of resources at the Board and the significant reduction in staff at our regional offices over the last few years should be alarming to anyone that cares about the mission of the NLRB.

“Rebuilding the agency’s capacity is critical to our ability to revitalize administration” and enforce the National Labor Relations Act, “and I am committed to that goal moving forward.”

The NLRB statement also cited the GAO report as stating that data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey in fiscal year 2019 showed NLRB staff members were increasingly dissatisfied with management. The report said the agency ranked last out of 17 medium-sized organizations that participated in the survey on 10 of 11 related questions.

Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr said in the statement, “It’s clear that years of being understaffed and underresourced has taken its toll on NLRB employee.

“My priority is righting the ship and building our sense of community at the agency so that our dedicated public servants feel appreciated for their hard work. When employees, within and outside the Agency, are treated with dignity and their work respected, we will be in a better position to achieve the mission of the NLRA.”

Mr. Ohr, a career NLRB employee, was named acting general counsel in January, after President Biden fired NLRB general counsel Peter B. Robb, and then acting general counsel Alice B. Stock, when they refused to resign.




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