Several weeks ago, President Obama announced that he was nominating Wilma Liebman as the Chairwoman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Notably, Liebman is a former attorney for the Teamsters and Bricklayer & Allied Craftsmen unions. On April 24, 2009, Obama announced two more nominees for the NLRB – Craig Becker and Mark Pearce. As discussed below, both are attorneys who represent labor unions, and not surprisingly, are decidedly pro-labor in their labor relations philosophies.
Becker is currently Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. In all, Becker has practiced and taught labor law for more than 27 years.
Pearce is a pro-union advocate and is one of the founding partners of the union/employee side law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux. Before 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor law and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP.
The NLRB is a five-member body, which by law, may consist of no more than three members of the President's political party. Should Liebman, Becker and Pearce, all of whom are pro-union advocates, be confirmed, employers can expect a dramatic shift in the Board's decisions to favor the positions of organized labor. For example, Obama's proposed pro-labor Board majority will likely overturn a host of Bush Board decisions on issues such as supervisory status, employer regulation of e-mail communications, the inclusion of temporary employees in bargaining units and the ability of employees to file decertification petitions after voluntary recognition.
Employers should contact legal counsel with questions on recent NLRB nominees or possible changes in labor law.