As I indicated in my post yesterday, the bar-related breakfast with NLRB Region 34 office was a big success. 

In the presentation and discussion, Regional Director Jonathan Kreisberg made a few predictions and observations about what 2010 would bring.

  1. Kreisberg noted that the NLRB was going to be using press releases to a far greater extent than ever before. (He could not recall more than 10 instances in the last 30 years when press releases were issued by the Connecticut office).  He said that the NLRB’s hiring of two new media personnel in late 2009 would make it much easier to do so. As a result, he expected more publicity for notable complaints, settlements and findings. 
  2. Related to that, he indicated that the NLRB already had up an active Twitter feed @NLRB)  which would only be used even more frequently in 2010.
  3. Kreisberg noted that he hoped that the 3 vacancies at the Board level would be filled soon.  While two of the nominees were uncontroversial, the re-appointment of Craig Becker has stalled things. Because there is a desire to approve all 3 nominees at the same time, the Board is still only operating with 2 out of 5 possible members.  
  4. In discussing the Employee Free Choice Act, there remains a great deal of uncertainty whether it will be brought to the floor of Congress for a vote in 2010.  If it does come up, among the provisions to keep an eye out for are a provision that would expand the injunctive authority of the NLRB and would speed up elections to seven days.  As a result, of the latter provision, Kreisberg indicated that post-election challenges to ballots would become much more prevalent.  (Although he didn’t comment on it directly, it appears likely that card-check provision of EFCA is going nowhere.)
  5. Kreisberg also indicated that there would likely be a new Field Attorney hired in 2010. This might allow for even more enforcement actions and speedier proceedings.

What does this mean for employers?

It means that if you’re employer with a labor issue, you’re likely to get more press and publicity than you may be used to.  In addition, even if only a few provisions of EFCA get passed, it’s likely to impact how cases are processed at the NLRB-level.  

Whether or not you have a union at your workplace, now’s the time to refresh yourself and your workers about your legal obligations.  And if you do become entangled in an issue, have a labor counsel ready to go; you may not have a lot of time to respond when you get a notice.