Trump Budget Proposes 18 Percent Worker Cut at NLRB

Republican President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the year starting Oct. 1 proposes cutting workers at the National Labor Relations Board by 18 percent, detailed figures show. The reduction would be from 1,596 workers in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, to 1,320 in the following year.

If the GOP-run Congress agrees, the board’s budget would also decline slightly, from $274 million this fiscal year, to $258 million in fiscal 2018. The board oversees and rules on labor-management conflicts from the private sector, except for railroads and airlines.

The budget blueprint also says the Trump administration wants to ban the board from instituting a rule to permit electronic voting in union representation elections. Workers and their allies have been pushing for electronic voting to take advantage of new technology and to lessen the potential for boss’ intimidation at voting sites.

The budget did not justify the deep cut in NLRB workers, other than to forecast the agency’s caseload would decline. It also did not specify which workers would be let go.

But the budget predicts the board would handle 19,809 labor law-breaking – formally called unfair labor practices – cases in the new fiscal year, some 1,500 fewer complaints than this year. ULP complaints and cases account for the overwhelming majority of NLRB actions.

An AFL-CIO spokeswoman, told of the cuts, said the federation would have a more-detailed budget analysis next week. Pro-worker lawyers’ organizations had yet to comment.

The National Mediation Board, which oversees airline and railroad labor-management relations, would not suffer any cuts under Trump’s budget blueprint. NMB covers some 746 rail and airline firms with 795,000 workers, the budget notes.  NMB’s budget would stay the same at $13.2 million. Its workforce would stay at 51, but they’d be handling 7,432 cases in fiscal 2018, up almost 20 percent from this year, the budget forecasts.