A group of House Democrats are calling for an increase to the budget for the federal labour board, which has been deprived of the funding it requires to address the current upswing of labor activity.
The group of 149 Democrats was led by Rep. Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey). sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday, asking for a roughly 34 percent boost to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) budget for fiscal year 2023 and requesting a budget of $368 million at minimum. The funding should be specifically directed toward addressing the “staffing crisis” at the board’s regional offices, they said.
The lawmakers also asked for the removal of an appropriations rider that bars the NLRB from conducting union elections with an electronic voting system, which the letter writers called an “antiquated prohibition.” Currently, elections are conducted with paper ballots that are mailed to labor officials, who count them by hand.
The NLRB’s budget has stayed the same for the last nine years, meaning that it has Actually, the hair was cutIn real dollars, the difference has been 25 percent over the past decade. According to the board, this has led to a reduction of 39% in overall staffing and a half-time reduction in field staffing over the past 20 year.
These cuts make it difficult for the agency to deal with the current surge in union and unfair labor practice filings resulting from movements such as those of Amazon workers and Starbucks workers. This month, the labor board reported that it’s seen a 57 percent increase in union filings and a 14 percent increase in unfair labor practice filings between October 2021 and March 2022.
“[W]Ith 60 million nonunion workers they would join a union if given the chance (including nearly 75 percent of young workers age 18-24), we only expect union election petitions to further increase,” the letter writers said. “With this skyrocketing workload, the NLRB is now responsible for far more workers than a decade ago yet has been denied the funding to meet these statutory requirements.”
President Joe Biden submitted his 2023 budget request. AskThe board will receive $319 million from Congress, an increase of 16 percent over its $274 million budget. Although the agency acknowledges that this will help reduce budgetary and staffing pressures it is still not sufficient to address staff shortages.
Norcross, cochair of the Congressional Labor Caucus told TruthoutThe increase in funding is essential to support the current burgeoning labor movement.
“Our federal budget reflects our national priorities. It reflects our values. These past few years have been incredibly tough on the working people of this country, and we’ve seen thousands organize to push for better wages and better working conditions in the pandemic’s wake,” Norcross said. “The NLRB plays a vital role in ensuring employers respect workers’ rights, but they can’t do their job well unless they are adequately funded.
Increasing the NLRB funding is a step toward “placing the American worker at the heart of the federal budget,” the lawmaker continued.
It’s unclear if Democrats will be able to succeed in increasing the NLRB’s budget to this level. While Republicans are often referred to as the party of the working-class, there are some conservatives. have begun raising their objections with the NLRB, saying that it’s being used as a “cudgel” against corporations, which they claim are being harassed by labor officials.
However, in reality, it is corporations who are harassing their workers. Unionized workers in all industries have claimed that corporations are subjecting them. intimidationsurveillance and other forms union-busting tactics to crush union efforts. Workers are forced by law to file labor charges against the companies that have broken labor laws.