This week NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon announced in Memorandum GC 11-06 that certain special remedies in first contract bargaining cases could be sought by Regional Directors without getting further approval.

Specifically, the Acting General Counsel said that “notice-reading, certification-year-extension, and bargaining-schedule remedies have been authorized when certain fact patterns are present. Accordingly, when those fact patterns are present, Regional Offices may seek those additional remedies without submitting the case to the Division of Advice.”

This is not an unexpected development. When the first contract bargaining remedies initiative was first announced, all cases in which those remedies would be sought had to be approved by the General Counsel’s Division of Advice. This was prudent because of the need to assure that the special remedies program was being applied consistently nationwide. Now, with several years of experience, the Regions should be fully aware of the types of cases where the enumerated special remedies are appropriate. There is no longer any need to burden normal case processing with the additional step of submissions to the Division of Advice.

Other special remedies – reimbursement of bargaining expenses and reimbursement of litigation expenses – with which the Agency has less experience, will still be subject to Division of Advice review.

Notably, all of this comes on the heals of the Board’s recent first decision adopting first contract special remedies in the Gimrock Construction case, which was noted in this blog on February 2, 2011.