Following Casey Effort, NLRB to Keep Pittsburgh Office Open

Downsizing Office Would Have Placed Strain on SWPA’s Labor Resources / Proposed Merger Would Have Split Resources Between Pittsburgh and Buffalo

Following Casey Effort, NLRB to Keep Pittsburgh Office Open

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that following his efforts to preserve the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office in Pittsburgh, the NLRB has decided to keep the location open. The NLRB had been considering a merger between the Pittsburgh and Buffalo offices, which would result in fewer resources for workers and businesses for one of the two regions.  With today’s announcement, both the Pittsburgh and Buffalo offices will remain open. The NLRB regional offices have a history of advocating on behalf of workers against unethical business practices and providing a long-standing commitment to the welfare of the regions’ workers.

“I’m pleased that the NLRB has seen the value of its Pittsburgh office and has decided to keep it open,” said Senator Casey. “For nearly 80 years, the NLRB has promoted and defended rights of workers and employers. I know this office will continue to support the labor community’s needs and foster job growth in Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Earlier this year, Senator Casey sent a letter of support to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce. Below is the full text of Senator Casey’s letter:

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.

Sincerely,

Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.

Chairman

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

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