Earlier this week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report documenting the decrease in staffing that has occurred at the National Labor Relations Board over the past decade. Specifically, the report found that staff decreased 26 percent between fiscal year 2010 and 2019. Of note, these reductions occurred at a far greater rate at the regional offices where NLRB cases originate as opposed to the Washington Headquarters.

The report also found that under former General Counsel Peter Robb (who was appointed by President Trump in 2017 and fired hours after President Biden was sworn in earlier this year), the decline in staffing significantly outpaced declines in case intake.  The report concluded that this imbalance left the remaining staff potentially overburdened.

“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.”

“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. “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.”

Based on this report and the comments from Acting General Counsel Ohr, it is likely that the NLRB will see a rapid increase in staffing in the near future.