The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created by passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The NLRB allows workers to anonymously vote to unionize their workplace. The provisions of the NLRB apply to all employers engaged in interstate commerce although airlines, railroads, agriculture, and government employers are exempt. The five board members are appointed by the president of the United States. There are two principle aims of the NLRB: to determine the freewill choice of employees to be represented by unions by means of secret-balloting and to deter and remedy unfair labor practices by employers and unions. The NLRB investigates complaints of unfair labor practices. If the NLRB determines there is reasonable cause to suspect a violation, an attempt is made by the NLRB to settle the complaint between the disputing parties. If there is no agreeable settlement, a formal complaint is issued and the complaint is heard before a NLRB administrative law judge. The judge issues an opinion that may be appealed to the board of the NLRB. The board’s decision is subject to review by the United States court of appeal.
About 35,000 charges are filed annually with the NLRB.