The National Labor Relations Board in the Twenty First Century
The Cambridge Handbook of U.S. Labor Law: Reviving American Labor or a 21st Century Economy, 2019
26 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 13, 2018
This paper discusses the role of the National Labor Relations Board since its creation in 1935. It focuses upon the reason for the Board's creation as a bulwark for protection of concerted activity, freedom of association and the collective bargaining process. Considerable attention is given to the basic concept embedded in this and similar administrative agencies, i.e., independence.
The paper notes the shifts which took place during the Eisenhower administration, the subsequent decrease in partisan controversy in the 60's and early to mid-70's and the rise of partisan controversy due to the polarization of the political parties as well as the weakening of the labor movement in the 80's and 90's. In particular, attention is given to the "batching" of NLRB appointments as a mirror image of the above described phenomena. The Supreme Court decisions relating to the Board's quorum and the constitutionality of recess appointments, as well as, the use of the filibuster and other mechanisms such as the Congressional Review Act are discussed.
Finally, a range of proposals to reform both the administrative process as well as the appointment mechanisms designed to reduce politicization and enhance the Board's quasi-judicial process is set forth.
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