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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.

History

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 Courtmarker.

The NLRB was established in 1934 through passage of Executive Order 6763.

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

Jurisdiction

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.

Structure

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 Samoamarker.

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



References



Bibliography

  • 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


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