President Obama has nominated Linda Puchala to serve a second term as a member of the National Mediation Board (NMB). The President has also nominated Nicholas Christopher Geale to fill the vacant Republican seat on the NMB. Harry Hoglander is the current chairman of the 3-member agency charged with overseeing collective bargaining and representation under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which provides employees in the aviation and railroad industries the right to organize and bargain collectively.
According to the White House announcement of the new NMB nomination, Geale currently serves as the Director of Oversight and Investigations on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) for Ranking Member Michael B. Enzi (R-WY). Geale has worked as a HELP Committee counsel since 2009. Geale’s previous jobs include a number of public sector attorney positions, including Counselor to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Deputy Secretary, and attorney/advisor to the DOL Solicitor. Geale also served as an Assistant General Counsel with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after working as a lawyer in the private sector.
Puchala has worked for the NMB since 1999. Before becoming a member, she worked as a mediator with the NMB and eventually became the NMB’s Senior Mediator and Associate Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services. She was confirmed as a NMB member in 2009, and served as NMB Chairman from July 2011 to June 2012. Prior to working for the agency, Puchala worked as Staff Director of the Michigan State Employees Association, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and from 1979 to 1986 served as president of the Association of Flight Attendants.
It is likely that both Puchala’s and Geale’s nominations will be sent to the Senate as a package for confirmation.