The Senate voted along party lines to confirm Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to serve as Members of the National Labor Relations Board for five years, and Peter Robb to serve as General Counsel of the NLRB for four years. Each was appointed by President Trump and with their confirmation, Republican appointees now have control over the NLRB – the federal agency charged with protecting the rights of private sector employees to join together to improve working conditions.
Member Kaplan, confirmed on August, 2, 2017, formerly worked as an attorney at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and as a Republican House Staffer on the House Education and Workforce Committee. Member Emanuel, confirmed on September 25, 2017, has had a long career representing employers as a management-side attorney at large law firms including Morgan Lewis, Jones Day, and most recently, Littler Mendelson. Mr. Robb, confirmed on November 8, 2017, also spent decades as a management-side attorney.
The Board is a quasi-judicial body consisting of five Members. With new Members Kaplan and Emanuel joining Chairman Miscimarra, the Board now has a Republican majority for the first time in nearly a decade. The NLRB General Counsel is independent from the Board, and is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practices, and for conducting representation elections. Mr. Robb’s views on the National Labor Relations Act diverge significantly from those of his Obama-appointed predecessor, Richard Griffin, a former union-side attorney. We expect that the shift of political control, on both the Board-side and the General Counsel-side, will result in the Board revisiting and reversing various pro-worker and pro-union Board decisions from the Obama-era.