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NLRB General Counsel Issues Memo on Ensuring Access for Immigrant Workers to NLRB Processes

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Today, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo released a new protocol to advance immigrant worker protections to freely exercise rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and safely participate in NLRB investigations. In a memo issued to all field offices, the NLRB’s Division of Operations Management advised Regions to distribute information (available in English and Spanish) to all witnesses advising them that immigration status is not relevant to whether there has been a violation of the NLRA, that information obtained during NLRB investigations is protected, and that a charging party or witness can ask the NLRB to seek immigration relief for employees at a worksite if it is necessary to protect employees who are participating in NLRB processes or exercising their rights under the NLRA. 

“One of my top priorities as General Counsel is to ensure that NLRB processes are accessible for all workers,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “All too often, immigrant workers are subject to unlawful intimidation tactics that seek to silence them, denigrate their right to act together to seek improved wages and working conditions, and thwart their willingness to report statutory violations. The NLRB will do everything we can to protect immigrant workers to exercise their rights under the NLRA and to pursue any interference with those rights by participating in the NLRB’s processes.”

In addition to distributing written information, Board agents will also verbally advise a witness before taking their testimony in an affidavit that an individual’s immigration or work authorization status is not relevant to our investigation of whether the NLRA has been violated, and that the NLRB will not inquire about the individual’s immigration or work authorization status. Information Officers who assist visitors or callers with preparing a charge for the individual to review and file will provide a copy of the fact sheet along with the draft of the charge.

Today’s memo is part of an initiative the General Counsel announced in November in GC 22-01, which  sets out casehandling procedures and other efforts to ensure immigrant workers can freely exercise their rights under the NLRA and have effective remedies when those rights are violated.

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.