COVID-19 Operational Status Update
WASHINGTON, DC — Due to the coronavirus pandemic emergency, many federal agencies have had to modify their procedures to continue operations safely. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is no exception. Fortunately, largely due to the outstanding efforts of its staff, the NLRB has continued to operate throughout this emergency with only some modifications to its practices and procedures to ensure the safety of employees, the parties, and the public. Safety for all has been, and will continue to be, of critical importance while we continue the important work of the NLRB. Modifications to our operations have been announced through press releases, which are posted on the NLRB website. The current status of Agency operations is set forth below.
Regional Office Status — NLRB regional offices are open. In the interest of safety and social distancing, in-person public access has been limited to appointment-only. Except for limited essential personnel, all employees are teleworking but continue Agency operations through email and teleconference. At present, the Agency has extensive teleconferencing capabilities but limited video conference capability. Additional access to videoconferencing capacity is being secured.
Regional Office Case Processing — Unfair labor practice charges continue to be accepted and investigated. There has also been no change to priority of investigations or time targets. Generally, affidavits will be taken by phone, absent extraordinary circumstances. Complaints continue to issue where appropriate.
Representation Elections — Representation petitions and elections are being processed and conducted by the regional offices. Consistent with their traditional authority, Regional Directors have discretion as to when, where, and if an election can be conducted, in accordance with existing NLRB precedent. In doing so, Regional Directors will consider the extraordinary circumstances of the current pandemic, to include safety, staffing, and federal, state and local laws and guidance. Regional Directors, in their discretion, may schedule hearings through teleconference or videoconference, although the latter may involve delays due to limited availability.
Administrative Law Judge Hearings — The Division of Administrative Law Judges has ordered that no in-person hearings will be scheduled through May 31, 2020, except for those matters that the presiding judge determines can be held via videoconference. Those hearings that were already scheduled for this time frame have been postponed. Judges are continuing to make conference calls in order to aid in settlement and handling cases that may be stipulated to them by agreement. As noted, the Agency’s videoconferencing capacity currently is limited and the Agency is working diligently to increase those capabilities.
Board Case Processing — The Board continues to process cases, including exceptions to administrative law judges’ decisions, requests for review of regional actions, motions, briefs, and other filings, as usual. As always, parties are required to E-File documents with the Board, and parties are encouraged to sign up for E-Service of Board and ALJ decisions. Any questions regarding filings or cases pending before the Board should be directed to the Executive Secretary.
Implementation of the 2019 Representation Case Rules — Implementation of the 2019 amendments to the representation case rules has been extended to May 31, 2020. Public training on the 2019 amendments will be scheduled before the rules are effective.
Implementation of the Election Protection Final Rule — The effective date of the Board’s Election Protection final rule – covering blocking charges, voluntary recognition and construction industry recognition – has been postponed to July 31, 2020.
Please consult the NLRB’s website for additional information, including individual office status, and for future updates.
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.