NLRB’s Budget Increases as Workload Decreases

By now, it is no secret that unionization rates in the United States have fallen each year for the past 30 years. This decrease in union membership results in a lessened need for the National Labor Relations Board, whose sole purpose is to govern labor and management relations. In fact, today the Board is presiding over fewer union elections, handling fewer cases, and issuing fewer decisions than it ever has in its nearly 80 year existence. The NLRB has even shuttered and combined Regional Offices because of inactivity. Specifically, since the height of unionization in 1980, union representation cases and unfair labor practice cases are down 58 percent and published decisions are down 85 percent. But, and this is a very large but, the Board’s budget is up 98 percent. Much of the increased budget goes toward the Board’s outreach program intended to educate people about the National Labor Relations Act, a law that has been around since 1935.