WFI’s Letter to NLRB members, Mark Pearce and Lafe Solomon:
Dear Chairman Pearce & Acting General Counsel Solomon:
The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) is an organization devoted to educating workers, their employers and citizens in general on important issues affecting the workplace.
Board’s Publication Of Annual Reports
We write to inquire about the decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) not to continue publishing Annual Reports. It appears the seventy-fourth Annual Report issued for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009 was the last. This came to our attention when we were looking for statistical information on the Board’s web site.
We are aware that the Board’s obligation to Congress to issue Annual Reports ended with the 2009 report. However, we think you will agree, the reports contain very useful information presented in an easy to use format and over the last seven and one-half decades they have become a valuable resource relied upon by workers, unions and employers, as well as members of the press and public.
Very recently, the NLRB posted on its web site most, but not all, of the tables previously provided in its Annual Reports and a few of the charts containing information on its Fiscal Year 2010 activities.
Among the tables not currently available are the following: Proceedings Decided by Circuit Courts of Appeals on Petitions for Enforcement and/or Review of Board Orders (with a comparison over the previous five years); Injunction Litigation Under Sections 10 (e), 10 (j) and 10 (l); Special Litigation Involving NLRB, Outcome of Proceeding in which Court Decisions issued in Fiscal Year 2009; Advisory Opinion Cases Received, Closed and Pending; and NLRB Activity Under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
Of the 16 charts previously provided, only five are now available and they are not easily found. The charts not posted include ones showing the Median Days from Filing to Complaint and the Time Required to Process Representation Cases from Filing of Petition to Issuance of Decision.
The information not currently being made available is important for a variety of reasons including: it demonstrates the Board’s current success before the Circuit Courts of Appeals and compares it with prior years; it sheds light on whether the Board had a need to change its election procedures as it did last December; it provides a complete picture of the agency’s productivity.
Request To Continue Publication Of Annual Reports & To Provide Data In The Interim
We urge the Board to continue publication of its Annual Reports and, pending publication of a 2011 Annual Report, to post on its web site all of the tables and charts that would have been provided in a 2010 Annual Report and that will be provided in the 2011 report. As mentioned, the reports are the window into the agency’s operations. They comprehensively summarize and explain the agency’s operations comparing it with prior years and have come to be relied upon by those it serves. They are a valuable resource for the public and Congress that is charged with overseeing the agency’s operations.
We strongly believe the Annual Reports with their narrative sections are far more valuable than simply providing the raw data in tables and charts. While the tables and charts may be helpful for those familiar with the Board, the full report with its explanatory narratives is far superior particularly for members of the public and those who do not practice before the NLRB and are unfamiliar with its processes and procedures.
President Obama’s Memorandum On Transparency & Open Government
In President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government issued on January 21, 2009, he made a commitment that his Administration and its executive departments and agencies would reach a new level of transparency that “promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.” According to the President, these departments and agencies would be charged with the responsibility for “disclos[ing] information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.” It seems to us that ceasing publication of the agency’s Annual Reports is inconsistent with this commitment.
This is not to say that future reports must be identical in form or that they must be published in hard copy. Efforts should continue to be made to provide the information at the least cost to taxpayers.
The Workforce Fairness Institute formally requests that the NLRB issue its Annual Report for 2011 and, pending its issuance, make available on its web site for 2010 and 2011 all the tables and charts previously provided in its Annual Reports.
Thank you for your consideration to this request. We look forward to your reply.