National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was established in 1935 to administer and interpret the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It presides over questions of unfair labor practices and other matters relating to the application of the NLRA. Barring a few exceptions, the NLRB has authority only over private-sector employers and the U.S. Postal Service, but could probably assume jurisdiction over any employer substantially affecting interstate commerce.
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In 1947, the agency split into two primary divisions: the Board, consisting of five members adjudicating labor relations matters brought before it, and the Office of the General Counsel, which investigates and prosecutes unfair labor practice claims.
The general counsel itself has four divisions: the Division of Operations Management, the Division of Administration, the Division of Advice, and the Division of Enforcement Litigation. The Board’s five members are appointed by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate and adjudicates cases brought before it through all avenues, not just through the general counsel.
Cases under the NLRB’s jurisdiction first arrive either by way of the general counsel or by individual parties against employers or unions through one of the 51 regional field offices around the country. The regional office dealing with the matter investigates the complaint’s legitimacy. Matters that are deemed to constitute possible violations are sent to an administrative law judge.
The judge holds a hearing on the matter which in turn can be reviewed by the Board. Objections to a decision by the NLRB can be reviewed by a federal appeals court.
The NLRB is made up of five members who are appointed by the President of the United States for a five-year term and approved by the Senate. The board members terms are staggered with one term expiring each year.