In just over three months into his tenure as the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel, Peter Robb has made significant waves. First came a sweeping memo on Dec. 1, 2017, in which Robb identified cases of significance where his office may be seeking changes to NLRB precedent, such as cases involving “joint-employers” and employee use of employer email systems. Next came his announcement that he is considering “reorganizing the agency’s 26 regional offices into a smaller number of districts or regions supervised by officials who would report directly to the general counsel” (i.e., he may be seeking to centralize more powers). Then came the report that Robb is contemplating reducing headcount at the board in light of declining caseloads and budgetary considerations.
Is he moving the needle? It appears so. At a minimum, his quick action has caught the attention of at least some Democrat lawmakers. In a pair of Feb. 15th letters sent to Robb from several congressional members, they express “concern” about his potential plans to reorganize the NLRB and the other initiatives he has publicized. They also request various pieces of information from Robb, such as communications he has had with people outside the agency regarding his proposals, and the letters further request that he meet with the congress members’ staff before March 8 to “brief” them on these matters.
While his actions are coming under scrutiny from some lawmakers, there is no indication, at present, that Robb is slowing down or that he is being sidetracked from his agenda. We will see how all of this plays out over the coming months and years.