Unions today enjoy record levels of popular support, especially among the members of Generation Z now entering the workforce. While this surge in worker interest in union membership has translated to a higher rate of organizing victories, workers’ success depends in no small part on the legal protections for union organizing and collective bargaining established by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA) and administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Under appointees from the Biden administration, the agency is wielding its adjudicatory and rule-making authority to undo decisions and regulations that stack the deck in favor of lawbreaking corporations and to ensure that existing law is properly enforced.
However, the NLRB lacks the funds it needs to fulfill its mission. Congress has not increased funding for the agency since 2014—and even this amount was a decline from the peak funding level reached in 2010. Due to the effects of inflation, this flat funding has significantly reduced agency resources; the number of staffers has dropped by 30 percent since 2010. In other words, lawmakers are quietly undermining Americans’ existing bargaining rights by starving the NLRB of essential operating funds.
The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress.
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