In a move likely to surprise very few, President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget contains an increase in funding for a government agency whose prerogative over the past several years has been to advance the business-killing agenda of organized labor. In the proposed budget, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has requested an increase in funding to nearly $300 million.

ATR and the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) have closely followed the pro-labor agenda that the NLRB has embraced under the Obama Administration. Among them are moves such as the nomination of Craig Becker (a former union lawyer who once remarked that “workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent”), a decision which penalizes businesses for not promoting union activity, and another which allows union organizers free access to employers’ private property.

While these actions raise enough questions on their own, what is most baffling about the requested funding levels for the NLRB is the fact that their actual case load has plummeted over the last ten years. A recent post from dug into the President’s 2012 budget, as well as the numbers reported by the NLRB itself, and found some shocking results:

"From 2001 to 2010, the number of petitions filed at the NLRB dropped nearly 43%, from 4145 to 2380. Meanwhile, the number of elections over the same period dropped approximately 40%, from 2645 in 2001 to 1571 in 2010."

These numbers are certainly reflective of the fact that total private sector labor union membership has been declining as of late. As AWF reported, in 2010, that number was at 6.9%, down from 7.2% in 2009. As private sector union membership continues to decline, and the actual amount of work for the NLRB to do falls with it, what justifies the $71.2 million (33%) increase over 2001 levels? Further, what justifies the addition of the nearly 100 NLRB employees being requested?

In response to this request, Representative Tom Price [R-GA] has proposed a remarkable alternative. As an amendment to the Continuing Resolution currently being debated in the House, Rep. Price has proposed completely defunding the NLRB through FY 2011. House Republicans should aggressively pursue this measure (C.R. 578) as a substitute for the Obama Administration’s blatant organized labor favoritism. The fact that taxpayer money is being used to unashamedly push the agenda of organized labor should bring pause to all of those seeking to justify the explosion of Federal spending being proposed in President Obama’s budget. House Republicans, and Democrats who will join them, should continue to stay strong in their efforts to fight organized labor’s job-killing agenda.