On September 15, the White House announced that President Trump will nominate Peter B. Robb, a longtime labor and employment attorney, to become the National Labor Relation Board’s next general counsel. Assuming Robb is confirmed by the Senate, he would likely take over his position hopefully in early November following the end of the incumbent’s General Counsel’s term and Robb’s swearing in.
In his role as general counsel, Robb would become the “prosecuting” arm of the NLRB and have the ability to help shape the Board’s overall agenda. Robb would be responsible for issuing complaints for unfair labor practices, advising local regional directors how to address novel legal issues, and drafting informational and instructional memorandums.
Robb would bring a clearly different mindset to the position than his predecessor, Richard Griffin, who actively advocated and paved the way for several of the dramatic policy shifts at the NLRB over the last administration. Robb, on the other hand, has criticized the NLRB under the Obama Administration, including its quickie election rules and the Board’s policy reversals.
If confirmed, Robb will play a key role in bringing cases before what will soon be a Republican-controlled Board so that a number of significant Obama-ere rulings can be reconsidered. As we have previously reported, the priorities for a Republican General Counsel and a Republican-controlled Board likely include the NLRB’s standards for determining whether joint employer relationships exist, the standards for evaluating whether handbooks and work rules unlawfully interfere with employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act, the Board’s standards for determining what are appropriate units for collective bargaining including a review of “micro-units,” the status of graduate students and research assistants as employees with the right to collective bargaining, and a multitude of other decisions from the past eight years that have more expansively interpreted the National Labor Relations Act.