House Lawmakers Demand More Labor Board Funds As Workplace Organizing Spreads
April 27, 2022
More than 140 members of Congress are calling on House leaders to end eight years of flat funding for the National Labor Relations Board, saying the agency isn’t equipped to handle a surge in workplace organizing at companies like Starbucks and Amazon.
In a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, the 149 lawmakers warned that a “dramatic increase in labor activity” could swamp the underfunded board, which has lost roughly 30% of its staff since 2010 due to attrition and a lack of money. All but four of the members who signed are Democrats.
They called for a labor board budget of $368 million next fiscal year, a vast increase from the current level of $274 million, which hasn’t budged since 2014. The stagnant funding in recent years means the agency’s budget has gone down in real dollars.
A similar letter with the same $368 million proposal has been circulating in the Senate, led by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).
The push comes as labor activists and board officials are raising alarm bells about the agency’s weakened state, fearing the lack of resources will make workers more vulnerable to union-busting.
“Rep. Donald Norcross, himself a union member, said the labor board had been ‘starved to death over the course of the last decade.’”