Does the NLRB Really Need a Raise?

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Labor Relations Insight, NLRB

The NLRB issued another press release on July 15 announcing that union petitions were up 58% in the first nine months of fiscal year 2022 (October 1 – June 30). The release notes that “by May 25, FY2022 petitions exceeded the total number of petitions filed in all of FY2021.”

I’ve already discussed how silly this comparison is. This comparison is looking at this year’s petition activity against a severely Covid impacted year. I won’t go into all the numbers again (take a look at the prior post to see detail comparing the last few fiscal years – this quarter doesn’t change the percentages much at all).

My main beef with these quarterly press releases is they are used to cry for increased funding at the Board. The release states:

The increase in cases comes during a period of critical funding and staffing shortages for the Agency. The NLRB has received the same Congressional appropriation of $274.2 million for nine consecutive years as costs have risen.

The problem with this line of argument is that the NLRB’s workload – even with this year’s so-called “explosion” in petitions, is still less than it was 10 years ago. In our LRIRightnow databases we can easily compare petition activity between fiscal years. Our numbers are slightly different than those in the NLRB release (we don’t count Unit Clarification and Deauthorization petitions) but they are apples to apples comparisons. Here’s how this year compares to 10 years ago:

First 3 Quarters of FY 2022 1836 petitions
First 3 Quarters of FY 2012 1872 petitions (2% more than 2022)
First 3 Quarters of FY 2011 1995 petitions (8% more than 2022)

The bottom line is that the NLRB is not being asked to do more work for less funding. They are actually doing less work for basically the same amount of funding.  Part of that budget request is to spend “no less than $1 million” to implement electronic voting which, as this great report from CDW explains, would be devastating to worker privacy. Add to that efforts like the imposition of card-check or banning exercise of free speech rights during union elections, and it’s easy to see why Congress might be skeptical about giving the NLRB a raise.

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