Washington, DC – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reported strong case processing statistics for FY 2020. The results reflect the Agency’s continued focus on more-timely processing of cases. This focus is a key part of the Agency’s strategic plan goals.
The Board issued 374 decisions in contested cases during FY 2020. Consistent with the case expediting program begun in September 2018, the Board has continued its commitment to improving case processing to better serve the parties and the American public. Under the program, the Board’s focus in FY 2020 was on issuing decisions in the oldest pending cases. As a result of those efforts, the median age of all cases pending before the Board was reduced from 157 days at the end of FY 2019 to 85 days at the end of FY 2020, a 46% reduction. The number of cases pending before the Board is at its lowest level in over 40 years.
During the same time period, the Regional Offices made exceptional strides to meet our strategic goal to reduce case processing time by 20% over four years, from the end of FY 2018 to the end of FY 2022.
The Regions overall reduced the time from filing to disposition from 90.0 to 73.8 average days, a decrease of 18% since the end of FY 2018 and reduced the time from informal settlement to final disposition of an unfair labor practice case from 172.6 to 136.3 average days, a decrease of 21% since the end of FY 2018.
The Regional Office settlement rate was 96% this past fiscal year, resolving over 4,666 cases prior to issuing complaint and over 570 cases post-complaint. Additionally, compliance was achieved in over 179 cases in which Board orders issued.
These are outstanding results in a fiscal year in which 15,868 unfair labor practice charges and 1,765 representation petitions were filed in our Regional Offices.
The Division of Advice provides guidance to the Agency’s Regional Offices on significant legal and policy issues that arise in unfair labor practice cases and coordinates the litigation of injunction proceedings in federal court. The Regional Advice Branch closed 233 more cases in FY 2020 than in FY 2019, a 75% increase in the number of cases processed. Despite this significant increase in cases, the average age of closed cases for the Regional Advice Branch increased only 8% from FY 2019 (from an average of 51 days to an average of 55 days). The average age of closed cases for the Injunction Litigation Branch for FY 2020 was 7.6 days, a 16% reduction from FY 2019.
The Office of Appeals reviews appeals by employers, unions, and individuals who believe their unfair labor practice charges have been wrongly dismissed by a Regional Office. In FY 2020, the office processed 1,224 appeals, reducing the office’s backlog by 60%. Appeals staff also reduced the average processing time of sustained appeals by 25%.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Branch processes all FOIA requests made to the Agency. In FY 2020, the Branch reported that it responded within 20 working days to 82% of FOIA requests and 100% of FOIA appeals. FOIA backlogs were reduced from 35 requests at the end of FY 2019 to 3 requests at the end of FY 2020, which is a decrease of 91%.
The Office of Chief Financial Officer effectively oversaw the expenditure of 99.83% of the Agency’s FY 2020 funds. The Agency’s total unobligated balance is approximately $470,000, which includes $400,000 in planned unallocated funds. This amount was intended to be held in reserve to support any potential upward contract adjustments attributable to FY 2020 costs.
Chairman John F. Ring stated, “One of the most important responsibilities the Board has in fulfilling its mission is to get parties their decisions as soon as possible. I am proud of the Board staff that has worked so diligently to reduce the case backlog particularly among our oldest cases.”
General Counsel Peter B. Robb stated, “These excellent statistics reflect the hard work and dedication of all NLRB staff, but particularly those in the field offices. It is evidence that the Agency can and will address violations of the Act quickly and effectively.”
Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees and employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year.