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House GOP Targets Ongoing NLRB Crusade

House Republicans are making use of their oversight authority to target the activities of the National Labor Relations Board, with the Chair of the Committee on Education and Workforce launching an investigation into alleged case handling misconduct at the Agency. Meanwhile, the Board’s General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, continues her crusade to rewrite federal labor law with yet another memo outlining key issue areas where she is seeking precedent reversal. 

The investigation is primarily focused on union election activity at a Starbucks location, and the NLRB agency officials’ handling of the case. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, is spearheading the investigation, and has been particularly vocal about increased oversight of NLRB activities. Foxx claims Board officials colluded with a union attempting to organize Starbucks locations, an allegation that was found to have at least partial merit by a NLRB hearing officer last month. Specifically, the hearing officer found that “inequities resulting from [Board officials’] communications with [the union and Starbucks] cast doubt on validity on the fairness of [the] election.”

Oversight authority engaged: With Republicans now in control of the House and its committees, expect to see increased use of their oversight authority being directed at agencies such as the NLRB which have been tasked with carrying out the Biden Administration’s labor policy agenda. Subpoena power – both for agency materials and to bring agency officials before a committee – could prove a useful tool for Republicans’ attempts to slow down the Biden Administration’s fast and furious regulatory agenda. 

NLRB General Counsel forges ahead: Board General Counsel Abruzzo remains resolute in her campaign to rewrite federal labor law and policy, issuing yet another memo outlining key issue areas where she is seeking the Board to overturn significant precedent. The latest memo highlights strike activity, mandatory arbitration agreements, and mandatory subjects of bargaining, among other issues as areas in which the General Counsel will seek changes in precedent – generally in favor of unions. 

Outlook: While Republican lawmakers may be ultimately powerless to stop the Biden regulatory freight train, increased use of oversight authority in the House, may at least slow it down. Expect the Board and its General Counsel to remain undeterred in their efforts to overturn decades of labor law precedent.

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Authors: Gregory Hoff

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