Chamber launches watchdog newsletter for labor board

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a newsletter Friday to keep an eye on a little-known but powerful federal board that has a big impact on labor law.

NLRB Insight is the name of the publication that will scrutinize the rulings of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The five-member board adjudicates labor law violations and oversees union elections in the workplace.

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“We are going to sift through and find the important issues so businesses and trade associations know what's going on,” said Michael Eastman, executive director of labor policy at the Chamber. “There is a void about important policy issues that are active at the NLRB. This is an attempt to fill that void.”

Eastman will be the publication’s editor and labor law attorneys outside of the Chamber will contribute pieces for it. The working plan is to have the publication come out once every two months. Its first edition comes out Friday.

It will be sent to member companies but made available to anyone via the trade group’s website.

During the later years of the George W. Bush administration, the NLRB had only one Democratic member and one Republican member serving together. President Barack Obama now has the board at its full strength with five members in place. Consequentially, the Chamber believes the board will be much more aggressive in making decisions regarding labor law.

“We fully anticipate that the board will now enter a very active period with numerous decisions and policy changes that will be of keen interest to all stakeholders,” the Chamber says on its website.


The board was in the national spotlight earlier this year when Senate Republicans were able to block the confirmation of Craig Becker, a union lawyer, to the board. He later made it onto the board thanks to a recess appointment by Obama.

The Chamber and other business groups have since grown increasingly wary of the board. Most recently, they began lobbying against a public request by the board to federal contractors on how they would administer a union electronic voting system, which they argued would lead to harassment of workers by union organizers.

Eastman said, however, that the Chamber would not use the publication as part of its lobbying strategy against the board’s decisions.

“This is not an advocacy document,” Eastman said. “What this is about is informing our members about what actions the board takes and what that means for the employer community.”

The Chamber anticipates the publication’s audience will be primarily employers and trade associations interested in the board’s rulings.