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Statement on GAO report on recommendations for the NLRB

Office of Public Affairs


Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding that the National Labor Relations Board staff decreased 26 percent between fiscal year (FY) 2010 and 2019. Staff reductions were four times greater in the regional offices where casework originates than in the headquarters (33 percent compared to 8 percent). Since the prior NLRB General Counsel’s appointment in November 2017, the decline in staffing in the regions significantly outpaced declines in case intake, leaving remaining staff potentially overburdened. The report further finds that, during this time period, the NLRB’s appropriations “decreased by approximately 17 percent…when considering the effects of inflation.” This represents approximately a $46 million decline in the agency’s purchasing power.

“The lack of resources at the Board and the significant reduction in staff at our regional offices over the last few years should be alarming to anyone that cares about the mission of the NLRB,” said new Chairman Lauren McFerran. “Rebuilding the agency’s capacity is critical to our ability to revitalize administration and enforcement the Act, and I am committed to that goal moving forward.”

Additionally, data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey found that although NLRB employees remained highly committed to achieving the agency’s mission they were increasingly dissatisfied with their workload, the sufficiency of their resources, and the overall organization in recent years—ranking last out of 17 medium-sized federal agencies in FY 2019.

“It’s clear that years of being understaffed and under-resourced has taken its toll on NLRB employees,” said Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr, who was designated in January. “My priority is righting the ship and building our sense of community at the agency so that our dedicated public servants feel appreciated for their hard work. When employees, within and outside the Agency, are treated with dignity and their work respected, we will be in a better position to achieve the mission of the NLRA.”

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.