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Labor Relations Board to Offer Buyouts, Early Retirement

The agency, which has battled flat funding levels for years, wants to re-balance its workforce and offices.

The National Labor Relations Board announced this month that it is offering buyouts and early retirement to some of its employees as part of an effort to rebalance its staff.

In a press release August 7, the NLRB confirmed that it had received authorization from the Office of Personnel Management to offer Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments to employees at the agency. The labor relations board has for years dealt with stagnant funding through attrition, but officials said now there is an “imbalance” in the workforce across NLRB's programs and offices.

“The NLRB has an imbalance in its staffing in both headquarters and NLRB’s regional offices,” the agency said. “To ensure that the agency is able to carry out its core mission, the NLRB is utilizing the VERA and VSIP to realign agency staffing with office caseloads.”

An NLRB spokesperson on Wednesday declined to offer additional details about the buyouts and early retirement, including which positions are eligible, the timeline to apply for a buyout, or how many employees the agency hopes to shed in the effort.

In its announcement, the agency said staff reductions also would allow training investments and technology upgrades for its remaining employees. But employee and outside groups have said efforts to slash staffing would undermine the labor relations board's mission.

A previously floated plan to centralize some regional functions was panned by observers and stakeholders, who argued that such a move would actually add bureaucracy and lead to less informed decision making.

Early retirement through VERA allows eligible employees at least 50 years old or with 25 years of service to retire and immediately receive their annuity. Buyouts under VSIP provide eligible employees with up to $25,000 if they leave their post.