The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has furloughed 1600 of its 1611 employees as a result of the failure of the United States government to reach an agreement to fund the federal agencies. Beginning on October 1, the NLRB began notifying parties in active matters that all proceedings scheduled through October 11 will be postponed. The NLRB resolves unfair labor practices filed by employees, labor unions and employers. Those matters scheduled for hearing on or before October 11 have been postponed. 

Similarly, the NLRB conducts representational elections requested by labor organizations, and those elections scheduled on or before October 11 have been postponed. The NLRB has notified parties with hearings and elections after October 11 that they will be notified on the Tuesday preceding the scheduled event whether their proceeding will take place. For example, if a representational election is scheduled for October 18, the NLRB will communicate with the parties on October 15 to notify them whether their election will take place or be postponed, assuming that non-essential NLRB personnel have returned to the workplace by October 15. The NLRB has directed employers to post notices for elections a minimum of three days before any scheduled election, regardless of whether it will actually occur, unless the Employer has received notice from the Board that the election will be postponed. 

The NLRB has communicated that it will be able to take action regarding “emergency situations”, but with only 11 employees actively working including the five NLRB members, the General Counsel and five of their senior staff, the scope of such emergency efforts would appear to be very constrained. The NLRB has notified parties that it will not docket or investigate unfair labor practice charges, conduct elections and that Administrative Law Judges will not render recommended decisions during the course of the partial government shutdown. 

If you have active litigation or an election pending before the National Labor Relations Board at this time, you are encouraged to seek the advice of counsel regarding specific questions associated with the impact of the ongoing partial government shutdown on the National Labor Relations Board.