Trump Budget Proposes 18 Percent Worker Cut at NLRB

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

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.    

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Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Press Associates

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

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