Although the National Labor Relations Board has been one of the most active and aggressive federal labor/employment agencies since Biden took control of the Executive Branch almost two years ago, there is trouble brewing. The NLRB has had the same $274 million dollar budget since 2014 according to its General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. The lack of a budget increase is now causing the NLRB to consider furloughing career agency employees. At the same time, the union for the NLRB workers publicly blasted the Board Administration, and more specifically GC Abruzzo, for their positions at the bargaining table on Thursday via its Twitter page @TheNLRBU.
In a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees responsible for NLRB funding, co-authored by NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran and General Counsel Abruzzo, explained that the budget paralysis, combined with inflation, has substantially reduced the NLRB’s purchasing power to just 75% of what it was in 2014 and that additional funding will be needed to keep the NLRB at status quo in light of $18.7 million in new expenses for required pay increases, non-labor inflation, and upcoming field office relocations. These increased expenses, says the NLRB, are beyond its control and, absent Congressional approval of a sufficiently increased budget, it will have to furlough NLRB employees. Of note, the letter cites a $10.7 million increase in labor costs stemming from a 4.6% raise to its workforce that goes into effect in 2023 and emphasizes that the NRLB has “exhausted its ability to absorb cost increases through staff attrition and operational efficiencies,” suggesting the NLRB is already running a lean operation.