Public Control of Labor Relations: A Study of the National Labor Relations Board

By D. O. Bowman | Go to book overview

Chapter XIII. COMPLAINT CASES

A. The Charge

The Board begins proceedings in unfair labor practice cases "whenever it is charged that any person has engaged in or is engaging in any such unfair labor practice. . . ."1 Any person or organization may bring a charge to the Board. Almost always the union brings the charge, which must be sworn, notarized, and in written form. The charge ordinarily is filed with the regional director in the region wherein the alleged violation occurred. The Board, however, reserves the right to permit charges to be filed directly with it in Washington and the right to transfer the charges to itself from the regions; or it may consolidate cases within the same or different regions.2 Although the charge was not defined in the Act, by regulation and form the Board gave the charge legal stature and defined it to be the first stage whereby proceedings are initiated.3 The initiation of the Board proceeding comes with the issuance of a complaint, the basis for which is the charge and the facts discovered in the consequent investigation.

Although, technically, the Board's formal proceeding begins only with the issuance of a complaint, an extremely important portion of its work is accomplished in the charge stage; for, while there is a statutory demand that a charge be filed before a complaint issues, there is no statutory requirement that prevents

____________________
1
Appendix I, Section 10(b).
2
N.L.R.B., Rules and Regulations, Series 2, Article II, Section 3. Charges filed directly with the Board in Washington are neglible in number--less than ten each fiscal year. Once filed, these cases are handled in the same way as others.
3
Presumably, the Board could have relied upon an oral charge. It was felt, however, that for formal procedure the written charge would be superior and, at the same time, would cause the person bringing the charge to think, analyze, and digest the charges more acutely. It was felt that there would be fewer unfounded charges.

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