The National Labor Relations Board is aiming to cut the time it takes to resolve labor disputes by a fifth over the next four years, according to a strategic plan the agency released Friday.

The NLRB's FY 2019-FY 2022 plan calls on the agency's personnel, ranging from regional officials to the five-member board itself, to up their case-handling speed by five percent annually for a cumulative 20 percent reduction in the time it takes for labor charges to move through each stage of the dispute resolution process.

This process includes evaluating stakeholders’ unfair labor practice charges, litigating the complaints agency officials authorize from these charges, reviewing parties' appeals of agency judges' decisions, and closing cases after the board rules on them.

Steven Suflas, a labor attorney with management-side law firm Ballard Spahr, called the new case-handling targets "laudable." But he questioned whether they're achievable with the board soliciting workers to take buyouts despite dwindling staffing. The board had around 3,000 full-time workers in 1980 but had fewer than 1,500 full-time equivalent staff as of last year, according to board data.

"At the regional office level, where this is going to have its greatest effect, that means people are going to put in more hours or that decisions are going to be made with perhaps a skimpier record," said Suflas.

Read the full article here. Subscription may be required.

Related Practice