National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
independent government agency charged with preventing or remedying unfair labor practices by private sector employers and unions. As official administrator of the nation's principal labor law, the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act, the NLRB has authority to investigate charges of unfair labor practices, issue complaints, prosecute cases before board members and an administrative law judge, pursue injunction proceedings, obtain compliance with board orders and court judgments, and conduct secret-ballot elections among employees to determine whether or not they desire to be represented by a labor union in bargaining with employers about their wages, hours, and working conditions. The NLRB can act only when it is formally requested to do so. Individuals, employers, or unions may initiate cases by filing charges of unfair labor practices or petitions for employee representation elections with the board field offices serving the area in which the case arises.