The 2011 calendar year was one of the more interesting years for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board became a lightning rod for controversy and partisan politics due to its controversial decisions to utilize its rarely-used rulemaking authority to rewrite the rulebook on union elections and to require employers to post what many consider a pro-union National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) poster in its workplace.
Moreover, the Board's decision to pursue litigation against one of America's largest employers, Boeing, Inc., which effectively delayed the opening and creation of jobs at its new production facility in South Carolina, stirred activity in Congress, resulting in numerous Committee hearings where sanctions such as reducing NLRB funding and demanding information to justify the conduct of the Board were contemplated. Disagreements between Board members played out on the public stage in a rather unusual written letter campaign between Board members accusing one another of, among other things, abusing the power of the administrative agency according to political motivations and refusing to participate or even attend Board meetings.
This past year also brought to a conclusion the term of Chairman Wilma Liebman, who is considered by many as the most employee-oriented chairman in the history of the Board. During her tenure, Liebman, who in the past often found herself writing the dissenting opinion, authored many majority-backed decisions with favorable employee outcomes.
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