On January 5, 2011, the White House announced President Obama’s intent to nominate Lafe E. Solomon to be General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board and Terence F. Flynn to be a Board Member.
The General Counsel is appointed for a four year term by the President with the consent of the Senate and is independent from the Board. According to the NLRB’s News Release, Mr. Solomon, a native of Helena, Arkansas, who received a B.A. in economics from Brown University in 1970 and a law degree from Tulane University in 1976, has served as a career attorney at the NLRB. He began his NLRB career in 1972 as a field examiner, and after earning his J.D., he joined the NLRB Office of Appeals. He transferred to the Appellate Court Branch in 1979 and later worked for various board members. President Obama named him Acting General Counsel of the NLRB as of June 21, 2010 under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, after the previous General Counsel, Ronald Meisburg, resigned. The News Release describes the General Counsel as the NLRB’s top investigative and prosecutorial officer, who has supervisory authority over all Regional Offices, guides policy on issuing complaints, seeking injunctions, and enforcing the Board’s decisions. Among the steps he has taken as acting General Counsel, Mr. Solomon has issued an NLRB memorandum calling for priority action in unfair labor practice cases alleging retaliatory discharge during union organizing efforts. He also recently authored a memorandum identifying “the protection of employee free choice regarding unionization” as the “keystone” of the NLRB’s mission, stating that he is “committed to making the principle of employee free choice meaningful.” His language suggests that under his direction, the NLRB would continue to pursue the aims of the Employee Free Choice Act.
President Obama’s other NLRB nominee, Terence F. Flynn, received a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park and a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law. The NLRB’s News Release says that Mr. Flynn worked at various law firms from 1990 until 2003, working on a range of labor and employment and immigration matters. He is currently Chief Counsel to NLRB Board Member Brian Hayes (the only Republican currently on the Board) and was previously Chief Counsel to former NLRB Board Member Peter Schaumber, also a Republican.