Washington, D.C—The Judges Division of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued an updated Bench Book, which replaces an earlier version issued in November 2016. This edition of the Bench Book was edited by NLRB Judge Jeffrey Wedekind and substantially revises the previous edition.
The Bench Book serves as an NLRB Trial Manual, and is designed to provide NLRB judges with a reference guide during unfair labor practice (ULP) hearings. It is also a tool for trial practitioners before the Board because it sets forth Board precedent and other rulings and authorities on certain recurring procedural and evidentiary issues that may arise during a hearing.
The basic sources that govern Board ULP hearings are the National Labor Relations Act (the Act), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Board's Rules and Regulations and Statements of Procedure, and Board decisions. The Board also applies, so far as practicable, the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), and frequently seeks guidance from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). All citations in the Bench Book to the Board’s Rules and Regulations and Statements of Procedure, the FRE, and the FRCP have been updated to reflect the most recent amendments. This edition of the Bench Book incorporates changes made by the new procedural rules published by the Board in February and September 2017. It also incorporates the amendments to FRE 902 regarding the self-authentication of electronic records or data, which became effective December 1, 2017.
The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.