Congressman Russ Carnahan expressed strong reservations today, regarding an announced decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to centralize operations in the Kansas City area. The NLRB announced intentions for their pilot plan today. It will become effective next month, despite pushback from St. Louis labor leaders and Congressman Carnahan. Rep. Carnahan expressed these concerns in a letter to NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce written last month.
Under the plan, the NLRB's Region 14 areas, including Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri would be merged under Region 17 which includes Western Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The administration of this consolidated region would be centered in Kansas City.
Carnahan said, "While it is my understanding that no jobs will be lost here in St. Louis, I am worried that moving the leadership structure to Region 17 will diminish the importance and workload of the St. Louis regional office. I will fight any plan that would negatively impact the employees of the St. Louis NLRB office and the workers they serve."
The National Relations Labor Board has said that the three-month pilot restructuring plan is simply one part of a nationwide effort to equalize office case loads to maximize agency efficiency while continuing to offer exemplary service. The plan calls for frequent travel between St. Louis and Kansas City by top NLRB administrators. Congressman Carnahan, while supportive of the NLRB's objective to be budget conscious and to maximize efficiencies, does not want an added cost to workers here.
"Efficiency is important, but it is nothing without effectiveness," said Carnahan. "The most effective place for NLRB staff to be is St. Louis. It is the largest economic hub of the metro areas being merged under this consolidated region and has the highest percentage of unionized labor. These workers rely on the worker safety and protections mandated through the National Labor Relations Board. They deserve the highest level of oversight. I will absolutely continue to oppose any changes by the NLRB which might eliminate local jobs or reduce the responsiveness of the St. Louis office of the NLRB."