NLRB’s General Counsel Outlines Labor Law Priorities

Jennifer Abruzzo, the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), recently issued a memorandum outlining the key labor issues that she wants to target during her term as General Counsel.

As General Counsel, Abruzzo cannot unilaterally change labor law. However, what she can do as the Agency’s top enforcement officer is prosecute specific cases where she believes that current labor law is incorrectly decided. More specifically stated, Abruzzo will likely use her power to overturn doctrinal shifts in labor law that occurred over the past four years when the General Counsel and the NLRB were led by President Trump appointees.

What becomes clear from a reading of Abruzzo’s recent memorandum, however, is that she intends to not only look to reverse decisions made by the Trump-era NLRB, but also go a step further to expand labor law in a pro-labor direction.

Some of the major items to keep an eye on are:

  1. Changes to how the Board views the legality of employer handbook rules.
  2. The legality of confidentiality provisions in separation agreements.
  3. The Board’s definition of what constitutes “Protected Concerted Activity.”
  4. Expansion of union access to employer property.
  5. Changes to the definition of employee status (i.e. how the board determines whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor).
  6. The Board’s jurisdiction over religious institutions.
  7. A change to current Board law to allow for bargaining orders in cases where an employer refuses to recognize and bargain with a union where the union presents evidence of a card majority and the employer is unable to establish a good faith doubt as to the Union’s majority status.
  8. Expansion of the law to allow for employees to strike and or picket.

We will keep a close eye on these initiatives from the General Counsel and will update this blog regularly as the status of labor law changes.