Jayapal Leads Washington and Oregon Representatives In Urging the National Labor Relations Board to Immediately Reverse Their Dangerous, Alarming and Abrupt Decision to Restructure Field Offices at the Expense of Worker Protections
SEATTLE—United States Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Kim Schrier, MD (WA-08) and Denny Heck (WA-10) once again stood firmly on the side of workers and labor protections today, urging the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to immediately reconsider its dangerous and alarming decision to abruptly restructure the field offices of the western United States, including those in Region 19. The Seattle Office plays a crucial role in resolving labor disputes, and the attorneys in that office are experts in both labor law and in the labor-management issues of the Region—including those specific to fisheries, forestry, ports and technology.
“The NLRB’s attempt to enact this major overhaul without any notice to the public is alarming,” the lawmakers said. “We urge the NLRB to pause this reorganization plan, and to set up a briefing on how these changes will affect workers, unions and employers throughout the Region.”
Today’s letter—sent to NLRB Chairman John Ring and NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb—follows reorganization efforts that would centralize the assignment of unfair labor practice cases, preventing cases from being handled by labor law experts who have expertise in the Region where the case originated. This misguided decision would also make it significantly harder to investigate, litigate or settle labor disputes.
The Members of Congress requested a briefing for all Region 19 offices prior to any reorganization. They also expressed their concerns about how this reorganization effort would effectively demote Regional Director Ronald Hooks, one of the longest-serving Regional Directors in the country and a leader who has devoted his career to protecting workers’ rights. Mr. Hooks is also one of only three Black Regional Directors in the country.
NLRB’s General Counsel assured Congress two years ago that the board would notify the public before beginning any reorganization. Additionally, NLRB’s past procedures have been to brief Members of Congress on changes impacting their districts. Neither occurred in this instance. The six Members of Congress called on NLRB to respond to their urgent concerns no later than Aug. 26.
NLRB Region 19 serves areas in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.
The full letter is available here.