The Government Shutdown and the NLRB

The government shutdown of 2013 is underway, and the NLRB has furloughed 1600 of its 1611 employees. For those labor professionals wondering how the NLRB intends to handle its cases or new filings with 11 employees, the answer has arrived. Visitors to the NLRB’s website are greeted with the announcement that the NLRB is "currently closed due to a lapse in appropriated funds." No information about the agency can be accessed other than blank charge forms, regional office fax numbers, certain Office of the Inspector General information, and the agency’s procedures during the shutdown. A copy of the procedures can also be accessed here (pdf).

Significantly, the NLRB’s procedures address how the shutdown impacts deadlines and dates for those seeking to initiate a charge with, or who already have a case pending before, the NLRB or one of its regional offices:

  • Timeliness of charges, petitions, and other papers during the shutdown. The NLRB is providing a day-for-day extension to file or serve any document for which an extension of time is permitted by law. The procedures remind those wishing to file charges with the NLRB, however, of the six month statute of limitations in the NLRA for doing so. The NLRB advises those wishing to file a charge that it would be "prudent" to fax a copy of the charge to the appropriate regional office. Additional details are provided on pages 1 and 2 of the shutdown procedures.
  • Postponement of ALJ hearings. The notice advises parties to proceedings before an NLRB ALJ that the hearings will be postponed. Whether a particular hearing will be postponed depends on when it was originally scheduled and how long the shutdown lasts, and is discussed in greater detail on page 3 of the shutdown procedures.
  • Postponement of representation elections and hearings. The NLRB has indefinitely postponed all elections and hearings originally scheduled to occur between October 1 and October 11. Similar to ALJ hearings, postponements of elections and hearings scheduled for after October 11 depend on how long the shutdown lasts. Details are provided on pages 3 and 4 of the shutdown procedures.