Downsizing Office Would Place Strain on SWPA’s Labor Resources / Proposed Merger to Split Resources Between Pittsburgh, Buffalo
Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the national Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce to keep the Pittsburgh NLRB office open. The NLRB is considering a merger between the Pittsburgh and Buffalo offices, which would result in fewer resources for workers and businesses for one of the regions. The Pittsburgh regional office has advocated on behalf of workers against unethical business practices and has provided a long-standing commitment to the welfare of the regions’ workers.
“It is imperative that we keep the Pittsburgh NLRB office open,” said Senator Casey. “Downsizing this office would result in an unnecessary burden for both the Pittsburgh and Buffalo offices. We must keep the Pittsburgh office functioning to support the labor community’s needs and foster job growth in the region.”
Below is the full text of Senator Casey’s letter:
Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20570-0001
Dear Chairman Gaston Pearce,
As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the committee with jurisdiction over the National Labor Relations Board, I am concerned with the proposed merger of the Buffalo (Region 3) and Pittsburgh (Region 6) regional offices. The NLRB has an impeccable reputation for remedying unfair labor practices and it is my fear that this merger will affect its positive reputation and unmatched efforts on behalf of workers across both regions.
A merger of the regional offices could affect available resources, offer a less visible pro-worker presence in one of the regions and even send a mixed message about the NLRB’s commitment to workers in both regions. Additionally, the merger could lead to a backlog of cases, causing an inefficient processing of claims and longer wait times for workers trying to stand up for themselves. In the past, both regional offices have done a fantastic job of advocating on behalf of workers and against the unethical practices of some employers -- it would be deeply upsetting to see a merger, while well-intentioned, tarnish the NLRB’s past successes.
A consolidated regional office would be responsible for covering labor practices in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Upstate New York. As a result, I believe that if this merger is to occur, having the Regional Director reside in Pittsburgh would allow central access to all states and workers who are governed by this office.
Increased demand for NLRB services is expected in Pittsburgh due to projected industrial growth and increased union activity in the area. Pittsburgh has made great strides to reinvent its economy and make the region stronger than ever. According to recent data, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate is lower than Buffalo’s and below the national average. Pittsburgh also has higher than average current and projected job growth and higher city and metro area populations as compared to its Buffalo counterpart.
Because the NLRB has such a long-standing commitment to the welfare of the regions’ workers and due to my deep concern for its efficacy going forward, I advocate for the continued presence of both regional offices. However, should this merger occur, I believe that the Regional Director should be located in Pittsburgh so that the NLRB’s ability to continue effectively representing its many members is not compromised.
Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.
Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee
United States Senate
cc: Nancy J. Shiffer, NLRB Board Member
Kent Y. Hirozawa, NLRB Board Member
Philip A. Miscimarra, NLRB Board Member
Harry I. Johnson, III, NLRB Board Member