NLRB Adds Chops to Toothless Labor Laws

National Labor Relations Board general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced an effort to pursue employers in court for engaging in illegal anti-union retaliation.

The memorandum released on Feb. 1 seeks injunctions to stop coercion in its tracks – before ongoing employer harassment has the potential to intimidate the entire workforce and stop a nascent organizing effort.

“Threats often escalate into action, imposing even more burdens and chilling effects on employees,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “They are not mere words impacting employees, but a prelude to what is likely to come to pass. Therefore, I believe that threats or other coercive conduct need to be promptly stopped, not only to erase the chilling impact they have on employees, but to prevent escalation of the words into action.”

IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson applauded the move to seek injunctions in federal court.

“Too often, and for far too long, working people exercising their rights to join and form unions have faced illegal threats,harassment, and job loss at the hands of anti-union employers who face little to no real consequences for theirbehavior,” he said. “With this new initiative, the NLRB will harness the power of the federal courts to quickly stopunlawful behavior against workers trying to unionize – before they can be fired.”

While her predecessor was fired on Joe Biden’s first day in office, Jennifer Abruzzo had to wait six months for a Senateconfirmation. Since then, she has wasted no time carrying out President Biden’s pro-union labor policies. A formerdeputy counsel at the NLRB, she is charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act – and ensuring workers’rights are respected.

“We’re focused on protecting the rights of workers to engage collectively to improve conditions on the ground,” Abruzzotold Bloomberg News.