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Home » Legislative Update » Election 2024: Biden Restores NLRB to Powerful Agency for Workers’ Rights

Election 2024: Biden Restores NLRB to Powerful Agency for Workers’ Rights


President Biden’s administration has empowered the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to advance its mission of protecting the right of workers to organize, making significant progress to restore and fortify this powerful agency that had been hollowed out by the previous administration.

Under Biden’s appointees to the NLRB, the agency is wielding its authority to undo decisions and regulations that stacked the deck in favor of lawbreaking corporations and ensuring that existing law is properly enforced. New agency officials are addressing issues that were long mismanaged under the previous administration.

Increased Funding for NLRB

The Biden administration has pushed for increased funding for the NLRB to ensure support for the critical work of the agency. During the Biden administration, NLRB has been strengthened, expanding workers’ rights to form unions and engage in collective bargaining, standing in stark contrast to the previous administration’s anti-worker record.

In December 2022, the Biden administration sought, and Congress approved, the largest increase in funding for the NLRB in nearly a decade—a $25 million increase. This increase allowed the agency to avoid furloughs and other cutbacks in personnel and services, and to backfill some positions.

Funding for the NLRB remains insufficient, a growing challenge in light of the agency’s heavier caseload due to increases in union representation petitions and unfair labor practice filings that NLRB staff are responsible for—serving more workers than ever before. The White House 2025 budget request includes $320 million for the NLRB, a $20.8 million increase from 2023. This includes the hiring of 50 new NLRB officials. This budget also seeks to increase fines levied against employers. 

The new budget request also includes funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which would increase by over $33 million in 2025.

Leadership Bolstered

Biden’s first act was removing the union-busting NLRB General Council Peter Robb, who sought to erode worker power and rig the system in favor of big business. President Biden then nominated, and the Senate confirmed, Jennifer Abruzzo to be NLRB general counsel. Abruzzo has spent most of her career as an NLRB attorney.

His NLRB appointees have advanced the agency’s mission by addressing issues such as employee status under the law, the scope of concerted activity protected by the law, the representation process, and remedies for violations of the law. Biden filled vacancies on the board by nominating strong workers’ rights advocates. He nominated, and the Senate confirmed, two union-side labor lawyers to serve as members of the NLRB: Gwynne Wilcox, a prominent union labor lawyer who is the first Black woman to serve on the NLRB, and David Prouty, the general counsel of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32.

Workers’ Rights Restored

Worker support for organizing unions has hit record levels. Petitions for union representation elections are up, as is the number of workers represented by unions. The previous administration appointed corporate lawyers to leadership positions and hollowed out the agency by not filling vacancies. 

President Biden’s appointees have strengthened workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargaining—the core rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Through a series of decisions, the Biden board has made progress in rolling back the anti-worker agenda advanced by the Trump administration and has expanded worker protections in key areas. Through the work of General Counsel Abruzzo, the agency has reinvigorated its enforcement of the NLRA and expanded its outreach efforts to ensure that more workers can access their right to a union and collective action with their co-workers.

President Joe Biden promised to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” Following his inauguration, he wasted no time making good on that commitment.

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