The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Ronald Meisburg, has announced that he is leaving the Board on June 20 to join the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. Meisburg’s term officially ends on August 14th. When Meisburg departs it will allow the President to nominate an individual to the post that has been filled by Republicans since 2001. It is expected that the deputy general counsel will assume the responsibilities of the general counsel spot until a replacement is confirmed. However, the President has the ability to appoint an interim general counsel during a Congressional recess – as he did with NLRB members Craig Becker and Mark Pearce.
The NLRB’s general counsel is an important position as it is separate from the board and effectively serves as the NLRB’s executive director — responsible for bringing cases before the Board, prosecuting unfair labor practices and maintaining the NLRB’s field offices.
Meisburg’s departure could produce even further process and policy changes at the board. With a 3-1 majority of labor union-side attorneys, plus a new general counsel, an activist NLRB could seek to engage in the rare exercise of formal NLRB rulemaking. Labor leader have pushed for rulemaking to promote the union agenda, including the provisions of the Employee Free Choice Act.
We’re not alone in our concerns with the intent of the current Board. In touting the a new addition to their firm Paul Salvatore, with Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Law Department said that the firm expects “the Obama NLRB to play an activist role, making Ron’s addition invaluable in our ability to serve clients.”