New NLRB Acting General Counsel Named

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. January 26, 2021
National Labor Relations Board seal on a tablet

​President Joe Biden named Peter Sung Ohr on Jan. 25 to serve as acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We've gathered articles on this news from SHRM Online and other trusted sources.

Career Employee

Ohr began his career with the NLRB in the Honolulu sub-regional office as a field attorney. In 2005, he was appointed deputy assistant general counsel in the NLRB's Division of Operations-Management. In 2011, he was appointed regional director of the NLRB's Chicago regional office (Region 13). "As a career employee of the NLRB, I am especially proud to continue my work with the smart and dedicated agency staff to vigorously enforce the mission of the NLRA [National Labor Relations Act]," Ohr said. "I look forward to actively engaging the public to ensure workers' fundamental rights of association at the workplace are protected to the fullest extent of the law."

General Counsel Nominee Not Yet Named

Ohr will likely lead the NLRB general counsel's office until the president announces a nominee who is confirmed by the Senate. Different from being a member of the board, the general counsel enforces the NLRA, selecting which charges are prosecuted and creating the agency's legal strategy, while overseeing staff and case processing in NLRB field offices.

Selection Follows Removal of Robb

The selection of Ohr as acting general counsel followed the removal of former NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, on Jan. 20. Robb's term was set to expire on Nov. 17. Biden also removed Alice Stock, Robb's chief deputy, on Jan. 21 after she became the acting general counsel. When Robb was the new general counsel for the NLRB, he signaled in a Dec. 1, 2017, memo an interest in overturning more than two dozen Obama-era board decisions and succeeded in scaling back some of them.
(SHRM Online) and (Bloomberg)

McFerran Is New NLRB Chair

Biden also recently named Lauren McFerran, the sole Democrat on the NLRB, to serve as chair of the NLRB. She serves with Republicans Marvin Kaplan, William Emanuel and John Ring. There is one vacancy on the NLRB that Biden is expected to fill with a Democrat. McFerran has written many dissents in recent years on such issues as joint employment, unilateral changes standards and worker misclassifications.
(The National Law Journal)

More Change to Come Later This Year

With Republicans controlling the majority of the seats on the NLRB, Biden will have to wait until at least Aug. 27, 2021, when Emanuel's seat expires, to add another Democratic appointee and gain majority control of the board. Rick Grimaldi, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Philadelphia, predicted that the Biden administration eventually will be "one of the most pro-labor administrations in recent memory."
(SHRM Online)



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