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Unfair Labor Practices Charge Filings Up 16%, Union Petitions Remain Up in Fiscal Year 2023

Office of Public Affairs


During the first six months of Fiscal Year 2023 (October 1–March 31), unfair labor practice (ULP) charges filed across the NLRB’s 48 field offices have increased 16%—from 8,275 to 9,592.  After a substantial increase last Fiscal Year, union representation petitions filed at the NLRB for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2023 continue to increase—up to 1,200 from 1,174. In total, 10,792 cases have been filed with the NLRB’s 48 field offices across the country, up 14% over the same period in Fiscal Year 2022. 

This increase in filings continues last year’s surge in NLRB caseload. In Fiscal Year 2022, 2,510 union representation petitions were filed—a 53% increase from the 1,638 petitions field in Fiscal Year 2021. This was the highest number of union representation petitions filed since Fiscal Year 2016. Unfair labor practice charges filed with NLRB Field Offices also increased 19% in Fiscal Year 2022, from 15,082 charges in Fiscal Year 2021 to 17,988 charges in Fiscal Year 2022. 

Accounting for both ULP and representation petitions, total case intake at the Field Offices increased 23% in Fiscal Year 2022—from 16,720 cases in Fiscal Year 2021 to 20,498 cases in Fiscal Year 2022. This increase of 3,778 cases is the largest single-year increase since Fiscal Year 1976 and the largest percentage increase since Fiscal Year 1959. If the pace continues, Fiscal Year 2023 would have the second-largest percentage increase in NLRB filings since Fiscal Year 1959.  

The increased case intake at Field Offices occurs as the Agency struggles with funding and staffing shortages. In December, Congress gave the NLRB a $25 million increase for Fiscal Year 2023, ending a hiring freeze, preventing furloughs, and allowing the NLRB to backfill some critical staff vacancies. However, the Agency remains understaffed after almost a decade of flat funding. In the past two decades, staffing in Field Offices has shrunk by 50%.  

“I’m proud of NLRB Field and Headquarters staff for processing cases with professionalism and care, even as our caseload increases,” said NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “The President’s Budget requests $376 million, which is much needed by the NLRB to effectively and efficiently comply with our Congressional mandate when providing quality service to the public in conducting hearings and elections, investigating charges, settling and litigating meritorious cases, and obtaining full and prompt remedies for workers whose rights are violated.” 

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.