Walking Dead returns Sunday, but the Zombie NLRB is already here

English: Zombies in Moscow English: Zombies in Moscow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zombies walk among us

The season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead airs on AMC this coming Sunday, but apparently the Zombie Apocalypse got has already begun in Washington DC. The shutdown of the Federal government is creating some truly terrifying results, including the creation of zombie agencies like the NLRB – operating with what is literally a skeleton crew consisting of the top leadership. For now anyway, the message from the NLRB is “Don’t call us, we’ll cal you…after the shutdown is over.”

Check out more in this report from the  HuffPo Politics page:

The federal agency that enforces labor law on companies and unions has been almost entirely shuttered since the government shutdown began, delaying union elections and stalling the investigation of unfair labor practices. The National Labor Relations Board was nearly derailed earlier this year due to fights in Congress and the courts over President Obama’s recess appointments to the board. Although the agency survived that political spat intact, it isn’t faring so well during the shutdown. Out of more than 1,600 employees, the agency planned to furlough all but 11 of them in the case of government closure, leaving less than 1 percent of its workforce as “excepted” shutdown personnel, according to the agency’s contingency plan. That would mean the federal agency is working with fewer employees nationwide than the individual D.C. offices of certain senators, many of whom have deemed their entire staffs excepted personnel during the shutdown. Ten senators — seven Republicans, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and three Democrats — haven’t furloughed any staffers at all, according to a HuffPost count. The NLRB’s functioning staff includes the five members of the independent board itself, its acting general counsel and a handful of other high-level personnel in Washington. The lawyers and other employees in the agency’s regional offices throughout the country — who perform the nuts and bolts of investigation and enforcement — would have been sent home. An NLRB spokesman, speaking in a message left on his office voicemail, said the agency is closed for business and won’t be responding to calls until the shutdown is over. Here is a helpful post regarding the ramifications of the shutdown related to business with the NLRB, from the law firm Epstein Becker Green:

On Monday October 1, 2013, the Board published a Notice in the Federal Register to the NLRB’s website that supplements the effects of the Contingency Plan that we examined at outset of the government shutdown and NLRB furlough. Significantly, the Notice answers some of the important practical questions confronting employers, unions and employees with business before the Board. With respect to time limits for filings with the agency, according to the Notice, the Board has unilaterally granted an extension of the time to file or serve most documents (with some exceptions) equal to the number of days (including partial days) that the shutdown lasts. With regards to representation elections and hearings scheduled for October 1 – 11, they are postponed indefinitely. Significantly, the Notice makes clear that the extension of time does not apply to the 6-month statute of limitations applicable to filing charges under Section 10(b) of the National Labor Relations Act. In the Notice, the Board recommends that anyone who wishes to file a charge while the NLRB is shut down do so by faxing a copy of the charge to the appropriate Regional Office. Anyone doing this would be well advised to keep records and evidence such as confirmations of transmittal, so that they can, if necessary, show when their charges were sent to and received by the Board’s fax numbers. As frustration with the furlough continues to mount, it seems the agency has taken action that, whether intentionally or inadvertently, is likely to aggravate the impact of the shutdown on the labor and management communities by prohibiting public access to existing resources such as the research and other informational functions typically available on the Board’s website. While we do not know whether this was required by the Contingency Plan or some other dictate, it is worth noting that at least at this time, the websites of other federal agencies in the labor and employment arena, such as those of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Department of Labor’s, remain functional


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