National Labor Relations Board: Wikis


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National Labor Relations Board
Agency overview
Formed July 5, 1935
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Employees 1,628 (2008)
Agency executives Wilma Liebman, Chairman
Peter C. Schaumber, Member
Ronald Meisburg, General Counsel

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent agency of the United States government charged with conducting elections for labor union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. Unfair labor practices may involve union related situations or instances of protected concerted activity. The NLRB is governed by a five-person board and a General Counsel, all of whom are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Board members are appointed to five-year terms and the General Counsel is appointed to a four-year term. The General Counsel acts as a prosecutor and the Board acts as an appellate judicial body from decisions of administrative law judges.



A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, was established by the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, an act that was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court.[1]

The NLRB was established by Executive Order 6763 on June 29, 1934.[2]

Leon Despres, the noted Chicago civil rights activist and lawyer, was a trial examiner for the NLRB from 1935-1937.[3]


The Board's jurisdiction is limited to private sector employers and the United States Postal Service; other than Postal Service employees, it has no authority over labor relations disputes involving governmental, railroad and airline employees covered by the Adamson Railway Labor Act, or agricultural employees. On the other hand, in those parts of the private sector its jurisdictional standards are low enough to reach almost all employers whose business has any appreciable impact on interstate commerce.


Union members picketing NLRB rulings outside the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters in November 2007.

The Taft-Hartley Act also created a formal administrative distinction between the Board and the General Counsel of the NLRB. In broad terms, the General Counsel is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practice claims; the Board, on the other hand, is the adjudicative body that decides the unfair labor practice cases brought to it. While the General Counsel has limited independence to argue for a change in the law in presenting cases to the Board, once the Board has decided the issue it is the General Counsel's responsibility to uphold the Board's decision, even if it is contrary to the position he advocated when presenting the case to the Board. The Board is also responsible for the administration of the Act's provisions governing the holding of elections and resolution of jurisdictional disputes.

The General Counsel oversees four divisions: the Division of Operations Management, the Division of Administration, the Division of Advice, and the Division of Enforcement Litigation.

The Board has more than thirty regional offices. The regional offices conduct elections, investigate unfair labor practice charges, and make the initial determination on those charges (whether to dismiss, settle, or issue complaints). The Board has jurisdiction to hold elections and prosecute violations of the Act in Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

Processing of charges

Charges are filed by parties against unions or employers with the appropriate regional office. The regional office will investigate the complaint. If a violation is believed to exist, the region will take the case before an Administrative Law Judge who will conduct a hearing. The decision of the Administrative Law Judge may be reviewed by the five member Board. Board decisions are reviewable by United States Courts of Appeals. The Board's decisions are not self-executing: it must seek court enforcement in order to force a recalcitrant party to comply with its orders. (For greater detail on this process see the entry for unfair labor practice).

See also


  1. ^ Morris, Charles. The Blue Eagle at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2004. ISBN 0801443172; Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958. ISBN 0618340866
  2. ^ Gross, James A. The Making of the National Labor Relations Board: A Study in Economics, Politics, and the Law. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1974. ISBN 0873952715
  3. ^ "Leon Despres, civil rights champion and former Hyde Park alderman, dies at 101". Hyde Park Herald. May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-07.  


  • How To Take A Case Before The NLRB by the Bureau of National Affairs (Seventh Edition) ISBN 1-57018-183-7
  • William B. Gould IV, Labored Relations: Law, Politics, and the NLRB (MIT Press, 2001). ISBN 978-0262571555

External links



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