Citing a \u0022dramatic increase in labor activity\u0022 that\u0026#039;s straining staff at the National Labor Relations Board, nearly 150 U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday urged congressional leaders to boost the agency\u0026#039;s budget, which in real dollars has fallen by nearly a quarter over the past decade.\r\n\r\n\u0022Just in the first half of FY2022, union election petitions were up 57% and unfair labor practice charges were up 14% compared to this time in 2021.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn a letter led by Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), 145 House Democrats and four Republicans ask Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), respectively the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, to increase the NLRB\u0026#039;s budget by at least $94 million for the next fiscal year.\r\n\r\nNorcross told HuffPost that the NLRB—which enforces federal laws involving collective bargaining and unfair labor practices—was being \u0022starved to death over the course of the last decade\u0022 at the expense of workers\u0026#039; organizing efforts.\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s been going on way too long,\u0022 said Norcross, who is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. \u0022This year we must change it.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe letter notes that since 2010, the agency\u0026#039;s budget has decreased 25% in real dollars adjusted for inflation, and argues that an \u0022increase in funding would provide long-overdue resources to allow the NLRB to accomplish its statutory mission.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Despite the NLRB\u0026#039;s vital mission, the board has received the same appropriation of $274 million for nine consecutive fiscal years,\u0022 the signers state. \u0022Additionally, overall staffing levels have dropped by 39% over the past two decades and field staffing has been cut in half.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022These cuts come while there has been a dramatic increase in labor activity which has caused a higher caseload for NLRB staff,\u0022 the lawmakers continue. \u0022Just in the first half of FY2022, union election petitions were up 57% and unfair labor practice charges were up 14% compared to this time in 2021.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022Additionally, with 60 million nonunion workers saying they would join a union if given the chance (including nearly 75% of young workers age 18-24), we only expect union election petitions to further increase,\u0022 the letter adds. \u0022With this skyrocketing workload, the NLRB is now responsible for far more workers than a decade ago yet has been denied the funding to meet these statutory requirements.\u0022\r\n\r\nNLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo called the situation \u0022unsustainable\u0022 in a March interview with HuffPost.\r\n\r\n\u0022There\u0026#039;s [only] so much bandwidth we have,\u0022 she warned. \u0022We have trouble just making sure that hearings are done in short order, that decisions are being issued in short order, that we\u0026#039;re investigating cases as quickly as we possibly can.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRecent high-profile NLRB cases include several lawsuits targeting alleged Starbucks labor law violations amid a nationwide unionization drive by workers at the coffee giant, and a suit accusing online retail titan Amazon of \u0022flagrant unfair labor practices\u0022 against workers who successfully unionized a Staten Island warehouse earlier this month.\r\n\r\nA similar letter calling for an NLRB budget increase is circulating in the U.S. Senate, HuffPost reports.