NLRB Partial Settlements: An Option Once Again

National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judges have regained the power to approve partial settlements of Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULPs) even if the NLRB’s General Counsel, and the charging parties themselves, disagree.

This practice, known as the “reasonableness” settlement standard was restored when the NLRB’s five-member Board affirmed an ALJ order that had applied the standard in favor of two ULP respondents and thus overturned a 2016 Board decision that had rescinded the standard.

This decision involved twenty-two (22) separate ULPs, filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and subsidiary UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside. The multiple ULPs were consolidated into a single case.

Over the objections of SEIU and the NLRB General Counsel, ALJ Carissimi accepted UPMC’s offer to guarantee the performance of any remedies awarded against UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside in exchange for dropping the single-employer issue.

Judge Carissimi rationalized that UPMC’s agreement to serve as a guarantor in relation to UPMC Prysbyterian Shadyside rendered the single-employer issue – a complex issue that could require years of extensive litigation to resolve – fundamentally moot. The Board agreed, reasoning that the NLRB General Counsel’s objection that UPMC could no longer be held directly liable for the acts of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside was not enough to vacate Judge Carissimi’s partial settlement of the matter.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at