National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb continues to outline his plans for change at the NLRB. First came his sweeping five-page Memorandum directing NLRB Regional Offices to submit to his Division of Advice for review cases involving “significant legal issues.” See our article, “New Labor Board General Counsel Issues Plans For Reversing Course.” That was followed by his Memorandum to Regional Offices setting forth a variety of circumstances under which those offices should process “currently active [representation] cases” applying the NLRB’s recent decision (PCC Structurals, Inc.) that overruled Specialty Healthcare. For more on that Memorandum, see “New NLRB GC Opens Door to Possible Widespread Bargaining Unit Changes.”
Robb’s latest plan for change was revealed in a recent conference call with NLRB regional directors. During that January 11, 2018 call, Robb said he wants to reorganize the agency’s 26 regional offices into a smaller number of districts or regions, run by officials who report directly to the General Counsel, Bloomberg Law has reported. This could place decision-making in the hands of officials who are not located in the local regional offices. An NLRB spokesperson said there is currently no plan to reorganize the Board’s regional office structure.
Robb’s reported plan could change significantly how the NLRB operates. Presently, regional directors generally decide how their offices investigate unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and handle representation proceedings. They decide the course of ULP allegations against employers and unions: a formal complaint for hearing by an administrative law judge or dismissal.