And while the NLRB is technically an independent federal agency, the five-person board and General Counsel are all appointed by the president (with the consent of the Senate), and there has always been something of a political aspect to its operations, said Jeffrey Neil Young, a labor lawyer at Johnson, Webbert & Young, LLP, and executive board member of the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Under the Obama administration, the NLRB shortened the insulating period between a union filing for an election and the election itself. This was intended to limit the opportunity employers had to dissuade an election in favor of unionization, Young said.
“I think unions have been feeling for years that the NLRB process has been highly favorable to the employer community in defeating union organizational drives,” Young said. “Over the last 20 or 30 years, unions have increasingly tried to avoid going to elections with the NLRB because of the delay in the process, and have sought more to obtain voluntary recognition. The Trump board is seeking to overturn those quicker elections [promulgated under the Obama administration].”