|October 4, 2013|
Previously published on October 2, 2013
Give the government long enough, and eventually it responds to the will of the people. In 2007 pickets demanded that the National Labor Relations Board be closed. You can see the picture here. Now, a few years later, these pickets have at least part of their wish. Along with most of the rest of the federal government civilian establishment, the NLRB is closed, not for renovations, but for lack of an appropriation.
How long the government shut down will last is the subject of conversation and guesstimation all over nation — well, at least here inside the Capital Beltway. All but eleven of the NLRB’s approximately 1600 employees are on furlough. The “gang of eleven” who remain on duty are the six political appointees (the Board Chairman, four Board Members and the Acting General Counsel), the Board’s Solicitor, Security Chief, Chief Information Officer, Executive Secretary, an Assistant General Counsel. In addition, according to the Board’s shut down plan, a limited number of personel will be available to handle certain required court appearances and emergency matters.
The NLRB web site, which is an extremely useful and functional research tool used by many labor law practitioners and members of the public alike, has shut down except for a few links for filing charges; for viewing reports issued by, and using the hotline to contact, the agency’s Inspector General; and for viewing the NLRB’s shut down plan. The NLRB smartphone app still works, but is not as useful as the website.
Oddly, while the NLRB web site is almost dark, other shuttered federal labor and employment agencies such as the Federal Mediation and Concilliation Service, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the U.S. Department of Labor, have web sites that appear to be fully functional, although they are likely not being updated during the period of the shut down.