Nominations Move NLRB Closer to Control by Democrats

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. June 24, 2021
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NLRB seal on a tablet

​President Joe Biden has nominated two Democrats—both union lawyers—to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If confirmed, they will give Democrats control of the NLRB. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets.

Union Lawyers Nominated

On June 22, Biden nominated David Prouty, general counsel for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Labor 32BJ, to fill an upcoming vacancy on the board at the end of August, when NLRB member William Emanuel's term ends. In May, Biden nominated Gwynne Wilcox, a lawyer at Levy Ratner who also serves as associate general counsel of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, to the five-member board's vacant seat. Prouty and Wilcox need to be confirmed by the Senate. If they are, Democrats will have control of the board.

(The Hill)

Democratic Chair of NLRB Named

Earlier this year, Biden named Lauren McFerran, currently the NLRB's only Democrat, as chair of the board. She replaced NLRB member John Ring, an appointee of former President Donald Trump and a former partner at Morgan Lewis, as chair of the NLRB. Ring remains on the board. Marvin Kaplan also is a member of the NLRB.

(Reuters) and (NLRB)

Agenda Once Democrats Are in Control

Once Democrats have a majority on the NLRB, they may undo Trump-era rulings seen as favoring businesses over unions. These include rulings making it easier for employers to defend workplace rules; barring union organizers and off-duty employees from engaging in organizing activities on employers' property; and prohibiting workers from using company e-mail for union organizing. A Democratic board also may replace Trump-era rules on joint employment and the procedures for holding union elections.

(Reuters)

10 NLRB Memos Withdrawn

There already have been policy changes at the NLRB. The NLRB's acting general counsel, Peter Sung Ohr, announced Feb. 1 that he was rescinding 10 memos that he considered inconsistent with the National Labor Relations Act's (NLRA's) purpose, including one memo on employee handbook rules. 

(SHRM Online)

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Ohr Was Appointed Earlier This Year

Ohr was named acting general counsel Jan. 25 after President Biden removed Peter Robb from the general counsel position. Ohr will likely lead the NLRB general counsel's office until the Senate confirms the president's nominee for general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo. The role of general counsel is different from that of 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.

(SHRM Online) and (Bloomberg)

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