By: Sara Robertson
Recently, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb announced his intention to restructure the NLRB’s field office operations and revamp the NLRB’s current case processing procedures. On January 11, 2018, Robb hosted a conference call with the NLRB’s Regional Directors to inform them of his plan to reorganize the NLRB’s 26 Regional Offices into a smaller number of districts or Regions supervised by officials who would report to the General Counsel.
On January 29, 2018, Beth Tursell, who heads the NLRB’s Operational Management Division and reports directly to Peter Robb, issued a “Case Processing Memo,” which sets forth a number of suggested changes to the NLRB’s procedures, including:
1) Requiring all parties to respond to inquiries from the NLRB within two days or face closure of the investigation
2) Reducing the amount of time allotted for investigations from two weeks to one week, depending on the case type
3) Directing agency officials to seek settlements in “all” cases “in lieu of litigation,” (even without approval from the Regional Director)
Some of the proposals outlined in the Case Processing Memo have drawn criticism. Specifically, if the proposals are implemented, investigations will likely be shortened, which limits an employer’s ability to respond to an Unfair Labor Practice Charge.
Robb and Tursell have requested input from agency staff regarding these proposed changes. Thus, it remains to be seen whether the current proposals will be implemented “as is,” or if further changes will result prior to adoption. Employers, particularly those with unionized labor forces, would be wise to stay abreast of these and other possible changes and can do so by watching this space. Stay tuned for further updates.