Insights for the Labor Relations Professional


General Counsel Controversy Erupts, and New NLRB Chairman Appointed

By Nelson Cary

What a difference a day can make.  On the first day of the Biden administration, the President gave the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board until 5 p.m. to resign or be fired.  GC Peter Robb (R) declined to do so.  (Here is a link to the GC’s short letter to the White House.)  By the end of the day yesterday, President Biden had fired him.

This development is unprecedented.  GC Robb (R) was appointed by former President Trump.  He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to fill a four-year term.  That term is to end in less than 10 months.  According to the NLRB’s website this morning, Mr. Robb’s service ended yesterday.

President Biden acted to remove Mr. Robb after being urged to do so by the Service Employees International Union.  For labor professionals, the implication of this news requires no elaboration.

In more normal and expected developments at the NLRB, President Biden appointed Lauren McFerran (D) as the Chairman of the NLRB.  This development, unlike the President’s actions with respect to the GC, is normal.  It occurs every time political control of the White House changes parties.  More information can be found in the NLRB’s news release here.

Chairman McFerran will lead the NLRB that includes three other members, all of whom have issued management-friendly decisions during their time on the NLRB.  The first of those members whose term will expire, William Emanuel (R), will leave the NLRB on August 27, 2021.  Given Democratic control of the Senate, if the Senate acts to confirms a replacement for Member Emanuel, and to fill an existing vacancy on the NLRB, this more management-friendly majority will almost certainly end later this year.

Labor professionals should then expect to see decisions that, among other things, reverse Trump NLRB precedent.




Insights for the Labor Relations Professional