Employment Law Report

NLRB to Consider Consolidation of Some of its Regional Offices

By Edwin S. Hopson

On February 27, 2012, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel announced that he was considering consolidation of some of its regional offices.  Apparently as a result of declining case loads, the Board’s Acting General Counsel announced a pilot program to look at consolidating regional offices in St. Louis, Missouri (Region 14) andKansas City, Kansas (Region 17), which would also involve moving the sub-regional office in Peoria, Illinois from the St. Louis office to the Board’s Indianapolis, Indiana regional office (Region 25).

Under this proposed plan, no offices would actually be closed, but NLRB staff in the consolidated region would report to a single Regional Director.

Previously, Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon announced that he had launched a review of the status of regional offices in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Region 11), and Los Angeles (Regions 21 and 31) with an eye toward possible consolidation.  Those reviews were prompted by the recent retirements of directors in Regions 11 and 21.  The long-time director in Atlanta also retired last year.

Currently, a review of the NLRB’s website regional office discloses that Claude Harrell, Jr.is the Director of the St. Louis and Atlanta regions and Acting Director of the Winston-Salem region.

Solomon states in a press release that he will consider input from NLRB staff and from external stakeholders, including practitioners, members of the management-labor relations community, and Members of Congress, before making a final decision about whether to proceed with the pilot program. Solomon plans to present a formal proposal to the Board and a final decision is expected in April. However, any permanent structural change would need to move through the federal rulemaking process, according to Solomon.

Already there has been “push back” by the professional and support staffs at the NLRB’s St. Louis and Peoria offices.  Their argument is that the St. Louis region has a larger case load than Kansas City and that it would not make sense to “dismember” the St. Louis region.  In an email dated February 27, 2012, that group states that the St. Louis Regional Director has already been sent to Atlanta and urges that recipients of the email contact their governmental leaders in an effort to stop the pilot program.