General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo Releases Memorandum Presenting Issue Priorities
Today, in her first memo as General Counsel, Jennifer A. Abruzzo issued the Mandatory Submissions to Advice Memorandum, which lays out a clear agenda for all Regional Directors, Officers-in-Charge, and Resident Officers on some priorities of the Office of the General Counsel.
“As our country fights a horrific pandemic and returns from an unprecedented economic recession, it is critical that the NLRB vigorously protect the rights of workers to freely associate and act collectively to improve their wages and working conditions,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “This memo should be seen as a road map for ways in which the Agency will better effectuate its mission and congressional mandate, including protecting the right to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection and encouraging collective bargaining.”
The memo is divided into three sections: The first section identifies cases and subject matter areas where, in the last several years, the Board overruled legal precedent; the second section identifies other initiatives and areas that the General Counsel wants to carefully examine; and the third section identifies other casehandling matters traditionally submitted to Advice. While the memo is extensive, it is not exhaustive and other memos may be released in the future as policy issues and cases arise.
The General Counsel lists 11 Board case areas that she identifies as doctrinal shifts away from previous Board precedent. These include cases involving employer handbook rules, confidentiality provisions in separation agreements, defining the scope of protected concerted activity, union access, and jurisdiction over religious institutions.
In the second part of the memo, General Counsel Abruzzo lists seven additional subject areas that she would like to examine. These include cases involving Weingarten rights, employee status, mutual aid or protection, and employer duty to recognize and bargain.
Finally, the memo lists various additional casehandling matters that are traditionally submitted to Advice. These include issues around 10(j) injunctions, cases involving the validity of partial lockouts, and cases with complex subpoena issues.
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees 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.