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DeLauro, Murray Release GAO Report Revealing Former Trump Administration NLRB General Counsel Allowed Millions of Dollars to Remain Unused, Shrinking and Demoralizing Staff and Undermining NLRB’s Mission to Protect Workers

March 29, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested in December 2019 to examine former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Peter Robb’s personnel and resource mismanagement that contributed to the Board’s recent pattern of allowing millions of taxpayer dollars to expire.

“It was clear long before the release of today’s GAO report that Mr. Robb was unfit to manage a federal agency,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Findings from today’s report illustrate how Mr. Robb decimated and demoralized the NLRB’s federal workforce while wasting taxpayer dollars and pursuing an ideological anti-worker agenda. He should have never been allowed to serve in this role. A good manager would have used the resources he allowed to expire to create a better work environment for existing staff and hire additional employees. I am grateful that President Biden understood Mr. Robb’s shortcomings as a manager and relieved him of his responsibilities over the NLRB on the first day of his Administration. I know the leaders of NLRB have a long road ahead to rebuild what was destroyed by the Trump Administration’s efforts to dismantle worker protections, but I am confident that under the agency’s new leadership team, NLRB is equipped to overcome these challenges and once again protect worker’s collective bargaining rights.”

“The NLRB is supposed to protect the right of workers to join together and collectively bargain for high wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces. But this report makes clear that under President Trump, the NLRB went out of their way to dismantle worker protections—allowing critical funds to go unused, shrinking and demoralizing staff, and pursuing an anti-worker agenda,” said Senator Murray. “Following the mess the last Administration left us in, it’s critical that we rebuild an NLRB that actually protects workers’ rights, not undermines them—and I’m grateful that President Biden has already begun this important work. I’m confident that under our new Administration, the NLRB will once again safeguard workers’ right to organize and help build an economy that works for everyone—not just those on top.”

The GAO report, “National Labor Relations Board: Meaningful Performance Measures Could Improve Case Quality, Organizational Excellence, and Resource Management,” reveals that while Mr. Robb allowed substantial resources to remain unused, he allowed his agency’s regional field office staff to shrink to 824 personnel by fiscal year 2019, a stunning 21 percent reduction from the fiscal year 2016 level of 1,024 personnel. According to recent staffing data provided by the Board to the Appropriations Committee, that level is down to 712 regional field office staff as of February 2021, a cut of more than 30 percent over the last five years.

GAO also finds that under Mr. Robb, employees were increasingly dissatisfied with senior leaders and the organization, with the NLRB ranking last out of all medium-sized federal agencies in the Office of Personnel Management’s 2019 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

Furthermore, GAO concludes that NLRB lacks objective and quantifiable measures for key organizational goals, including those for case processing quality. As a result, we may never know the full scope of how Mr. Robb’s organizational failures have hindered the Board’s ability to fulfill its mission.

While Mr. Robb no longer plays a role in NLRB’s operations, many of the recommendations proposed by GAO will help improve the treatment of personnel and the management of resources to better carry out the Board’s mission.