The Law @ Work

NLRB Looks to the Future

by Timothy F. Murphy

Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) General Counsel (“GC”) released a 4-year strategic plan (“the plan”). The plan sets four broad goals that relate to how the NLRB carries out its mission. The plan does not alter that mission. The goals are:

  1. Promptly and fairly resolve through investigation, settlement or prosecution, unfair labor practices under the NLRA;
  2. Promptly and fairly investigate and resolve all questions concerning representation of employees;
  3. Achieve organizational excellence and productivity in the public interest; and
  4. Manage agency resources efficiently and in a manner that instills public trust.

For each goal, the plan provides initiatives, measures, and strategies for achieving the goal.

The first goal may have the most immediate impact for employers who come in contact with the NLRB to deal with unfair labor practices or union elections.  The thrust of this first goal is to  reduce case processing time by 5% in each of the plan’s four years, in support of which the GC pointed out that the case backlog continues to trend upward although new case filings have steadily declined relative to staffing. In FY 2018, the NLRB received 900 more cases than it disposed of. According to the GC, “[u]nless these trends are reversed, it is clear the Board’s mission to effectuate the prompt resolution of unfair labor practices will be compromised.”


The plan is a product of the publicized effort of the NLRB to better align itself with the challenges and realities it faces, including a declining number of new cases relative to staffing and budgetary pressures. We will continue to pay close attention to changes at the NLRB and keep you posted on how they may affect employers.

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