The fact that the NLRB budget has remained stagnant for so long — amounting to a nearly 25 percent budget cut when inflation is taken into account — is largely the fault of Republicans, labor advocates say.

By Sharon Zhang, Truthout

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will steadily lose its ability to enforce federal labor laws if Congress doesn’t pass an increase in funding for the agency before this session ends in January, the agency union is warning.

protest sign

Labor union activity has massively increased across the country over the past year, and the agency says it’s struggling to keep up as it undergoes a nine-year drought in budget raises. The union says that the U.S. will soon be facing a “crisis” in labor regulation as the agency’s workload piles up and it can no longer afford to pay all of its employees.

“With fixed costs rising by [more than or equal to] 4.6 percent, the NLRB is facing budgetary Armageddon. The agency is already in a hiring freeze, and for the first time in a decade we are hearing rumblings of employee furloughs,” the NLRB union wrote. “We are DESPERATELY asking Congress to increase our budget in the coming weeks.”

If Democrats don’t increase the NLRB budget before this session of Congress ends in January, it will likely be the party’s last chance to do so for at least two years; Republicans, who are slated to take the House, will not approve NLRB budget raises. This could majorly kneecap the burgeoning labor movement and workers’ ability to challenge employers when they violate labor laws.

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