On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions announced it would hold a vote on October 18th on the nomination of Peter Robb for the new General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The upcoming vote is expected to be a victory for the Trump Administration, cementing their control over the rogue NLRB – which has repeatedly been sued for blatantly unconstitutional practices, and for bypassing Congressional authority on matters of labor law. In fact, under Obama’s administration, the NLRB was directed to pursue job-crushing regulations, and advance Union interests at the targeted expense of employers and job providers in Republican controlled states.
General Counsel Richard Griffin, who served under Obama, previously served as the NLRB board member before the Supreme Court declared the appointment to be unconstitutional in 2013, shortly afterwards, Obama appointed him to office anyway.
Griffin being a career union attorney, has always been the leading force behind many major of the agency’s initiatives that were seen to be more union friendly, most famously his attempt to prosecute McDonalds for workplace violations that were committed by its franchisees. Under his leadership, the agency also implemented new election rules that intensely sped up the timeframes fixed for holding the union votes, while he called for more of new restrictions on the decertification elections in which the workers vote to cut ties with their own union representatives.
The three to two majority at the NRLB gives Republicans an opportunity to decide on the workplace disputes and set the precedent in interpreting the national labor laws, as the General Counsel is popularly considered to be the most powerful position at the agency. The General Counsel is in charge of setting the agenda for the agency in terms of the workplace enforcement and the unfair labor practices investigations and oversees its regional office. These investigations and their prosecution generates the cases that the top board hears and decides upon.
Labor watchdogs and business groups expect Robb to support pro-business regulations, and Right To Work initiatives across the nation. Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, called Griffin’s tenure “a disaster for the rights of independent workers who don’t want to associate with a labor union” and said that Robb’s appointment is considered to be “critical” to winning the balance on the board.
“Confirming his replacement prior to the expiration of Griffin’s term in November is critical. The new general counsel needs to begin work as soon as possible to return the NLRB to its role as a neutral arbiter of the law, instead of acting as an organizing arm for Big Labor,” he said.
A House Committee on Education’s spokesperson and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx also urged swift confirmation to prevent any vacancy after Griffin and his team leaves the agency.
The spokeswoman said, “After years of an extreme and liberal agenda pushed by the Obama-era NLRB, this vote will bring us one step closer to achieving the fair and balanced labor policies America’s workers deserve.”
All Robb needs mow is a majority in the Republican-controlled committee to further advance to the Senate floor. If confirmed, he would serve a four-year term at the agency. President Trump’s work at staffing the agency though is not yet complete. The administration is still searching to replace the board Chairman Philip Miscimarra, who has said that he would not seek a new term after his appointment expires in December this year.