By George J. Miller
On March 8, 2012, Lafe E. Solomon, Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, issued a Summary of Operations for fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 — September 30, 2011), containing preliminary figures for the fiscal year. This data reveals a continuing slowdown in labor union activity across the country, especially in representation election cases. Some of the data includes:
- total case intake during FY 2011 was 24,990, compared to 26,585 cases in FY 2010, representing a 5.9% decrease in overall intake;
- unfair labor practice case intake was 22,177, a 5.1% decrease from the FY 2010 intake of 23,381;
- total representation election case intake was 2,813, a 12.2% decrease from the FY 2010 intake of 3,204.
In addition, however, the NLRB was aggressive in pursuing unfair labor practice cases, most of which were against employers. The NLRB reported:
- The Regional Offices won 87% of Board and Administrative Law Judge unfair labor practice and compliance decisions in whole or in part in FY 2011.
- A total of $60,514,922 was recovered on behalf of employees as backpay or reimbursement of fees, dues, and fines, with 1,644 employees offered reinstatement.
The 87% win rate is something which employers (and unions) charged with unfair labor practices need to be very aware of in deciding whether to defend a case through trial or try to settle early in the process.