By Edwin S. Hopson
On July 6, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board celebrated 75 years of its existence as the federal agency tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act. The primary law governing relations between employers and employees in the private sector was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 5, 1935.
In a signing statement, President Roosevelt stated at the time that the NLRA sought to achieve “common justice and economic advance.” In its July 6, 2010, press release noting the occasion, the NLRB stated that “[s]ince then, through the Second World War and the economic growth and challenges that followed, millions of employees have voted in NLRB-conducted workplace elections and millions more have bargained collectively with their employers under the NLRB’s protection.”
According to that same press release, the NLRB noted that “[i]n fiscal year 2009 alone, the Agency conducted 1.690 representation elections, received 22,941 charges of unfair labor practices, recovered more than $77 million in back pay and ensured that more than 1,500 wrongfully discharged employees were offered reinstatement to their jobs.”
The NLRB has also put up a commemorative website (http://www.nlrb.gov/75th/index.html) that has links to YouTube, and will sponsor events across the country, culminating in a two-day symposium in late October, 2010, in Washington, D.C. on the NLRA’s legacy and prospects for its future, co-sponsored by the NLRB and the George Washington University School of Law.