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Hold On! — Democratic Senators Challenge New Labor Board GC’s Plans

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ranking Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have written to  new NLRB General Counsel Peter B. Robb “to express serious concerns regarding Memorandum 18-02, which [Robb] issued to National Labor Relations Board [] Regional Directors on December 1, 2017.” For more on NLRB General Counsel Memo 18-02, see our article, New Labor Board General Counsel Issues Plans for Reversing Course. The Senators made a number of detailed requests for information and documents regarding Robb’s decision making and thought process and requested that he provide a response by December 22.

The GC Memo instructed Regional Directors to submit to Robb’s Division of Advice cases that relate to numerous “significant” categories. Many of those cases involved precedent overruled by the Obama NLRB. The Memo also rescinded seven Memoranda and three initiatives of the previous General Counsel, Richard Griffin, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

The Senators said the Memo would interfere with the NLRB’s role, which, in their view, is to help workers “hold companies accountable in court for violations of the National Labor Relations Act” and “to adapt the statute to ever-changing economic conditions.” The Senators stated, “[W]e are deeply concerned that your policy changes will ultimately enable bad actors to violate workers’ fundamental labor rights with impunity.” They also said that the Memo “suggests that your office will scale back its efforts to discharge [what the Senators believe is the NLRB’s] responsibility” to protect employees.

The Senators also said the timing of the Memo needs to be explained. They noted that Robb expressed a lack of a pre-determined agenda during his confirmation hearings, yet issued this guidance “in a mere nine workdays.”

It is unclear what, if any, effect the Senators’ inquiry will have on the General Counsel’s plans laid out in the Memo.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 348

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About this Author

Jessica M. Marsh, Jackson Lewis, labor arbitrations lawyer, contract administration matters attorney
Of Counsel

Jessica M. Marsh is Of Counsel in the Minneapolis, MN, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is certified as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist through the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Ms. Marsh’s traditional labor experience includes assisting both unionized and union-free workplaces facing union organizing attempts, picketing and/or strike activity, and union election petitions. Ms. Marsh defends employers responding to unfair-labor practice charges at the NLRB Regional Offices and on exceptions to the NLRB. Ms. Marsh also represents...

612-359-1762
Howard Bloom, Jackson Lewis, labor union attorney, unfair practice investigations lawyer, employment legal counsel, bargaining law
Principal

Howard M. Bloom is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law representing exclusively employers for more than 36 years.

Mr. Bloom counsels clients in a variety of industries on labor law issues. He trains and advises executives, managers and supervisors on union awareness and positive employee relations, and assists employers in connection with union card-signing efforts, traditional union representation and corporate campaigns, and union decertification campaigns. He also represents clients at the National Labor Relations Board in connection with bargaining unit issues, objections and challenges, as well as unfair labor practice investigations and trials. Mr. Bloom also has been the spokesperson at countless first and successor contract collective bargaining negotiations, and regularly advises on collective bargaining agreement administration issues, including grievance/arbitration issues.

Mr. Bloom has appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, several U.S. District Courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

617-367-0025
Philip B. Rosen Jackson Lewis  Preventive Practices Lawyer & Collective Bargaining Attorney
Principal

Philip B. Rosen is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is a member of the firm's Board of Directors and co-leads the firm's Labor and Preventive Practices Group. He joined the firm in 1979 and served as Managing Partner of the New York City office from 1989 to 2009.

Mr. Rosen lectures extensively, conducts management training, and advises clients with respect to legislative and regulatory initiatives, corporate strategies, business ethics, social media, reorganizations and reductions-...

212-545-4000