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Fuzzy Math & Fear Tactics: Claims of NLRB Cuts Leading to Big Backlog Don’t Add Up

Despite the fact that the union-controlled National Labor Relations Board is doing less work than it did 10 years ago and spending $66 million more per year (2010 budget), union extremists are over-the-top concerned that a budgetary roll back to 2003 levels would cripple the agency and create a massive backlog in cases.

According to an independent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the cut to the NLRB would force it to furlough its 1,600 person staff for anywhere from 58 to 64 days, depending upon how many workers are exempt from the furloughs. According to the analysis the cuts could have a wide reaching effect “a substantial reduction in work days would be dramatic.

Other NLRB activities that could be affected include Board decisions, remedies to ULPs [unfair labor practices], collection of back pay, and requests for court injunctions to stop ULPs, responses to public inquires, outreach, completion of financial and other reports, and other activities.” The National Labor Relations Board estimates this would increase their backlog by 18,000 cases.

18,000 cases? Not hardly.

There are several problems with this argument. The foremost problem with the union-NLRB argument (which is taken from allegedly ‘nonpartisan’ data prepared for the NLRB) is that it appears to be a gross exaggeration.

According to the average compiled using the NLRB’s own data, the NLRB has been averaging 25,281 total cases (both election and unfair labor practice cases) over the last three years, or 506 per week (based on 50 weeks per year). It should also be noted that, of the 23, 523 unfair labor practice charges filed in 2010, the NLRB only issued complaints in 5.2%, while another 32.7% of the charges were settled. This means that fully 62% of the charges filed in 2010 were either withdrawn, still under investigation at the end of FY 2010, or dismissed entirely by the NLRB as lacking merit.

In addition, the assumptions the NLRB and its union promoters would like people to believe is that the NLRB would shut down entirely. That, too, is problematic. Across all of its 36 regional offices, the NLRB’s case loads per region vary. For example, North Carolina and Georgia, may not see the same  amount of activity as, say, Seattle or Philadelphia. While it is entirely possible that some offices could be shut down, the caseload in those offices can easily be transferred to more adequately staffed regions, a practice that occurs now between NLRB regions

Even more importantly, as FY 2011 is now six months old, even if the NLRB were to be forced furlough its 1600 employees for “58 to 64 [work days] days” (which is doubtful), using their monthly average, at most there could be a backlog of 6,587 cases—a far, far cry from the hysterical meme of 18,000.

Note: It is not even clear whether the numbers the NLRB cited in its initial dire predictions are valid, given the fact that its numbers are based on numbers compiled unionized analysts.

Rather than putting out false messages with fuzzy math, perhaps the union-controlled NLRB might be better off working out a plan to live within its budgeted means, as established by Congress.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

X-posted.

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