Changes at the NLRB – What Lies Ahead?

Today is NLRB Board Member Peter Schaumber’s last day at the Agency, as his second term has expired. Mr. Schaumber has been a member of the Board since 2002 and has served there through many trying times. As a result of political gridlock blocking the confirmation of additional members, he served as one of only two members of the NLRB for over two years from December 2007 – March 2010. His departure creates a new dynamic on the Board. Its membership will drop to only three confirmed members plus Craig Becker, who was recess appointed by President Obama earlier this year despite bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Senate. After today, the Board will have three Democrats, one Republican and a vacancy in the important general counsel position.

While many folks may not be familiar with the day-to-day workings of the NLRB, manufacturers are certainly watching it closely. Efforts to pass the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) through Congress have proven to be difficult for labor leaders and their allies in Washington, whose attention now turns to enacting the goals of the legislation through NLRB actions. President Obama recently addressed the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, highlighting his efforts to appoint members to the Board that will effectuate the labor law changes that labor leaders seek.

We expect President Obama to announce soon his nominee for Schaumber’s post and the general counsel post. We hope that the nominee will uphold the principles of fairness and balance that have guided the Agency for the past 75 years. We urge all Board members to reject efforts to implement the goals of the EFCA by dutifully adhering to the sound administration of the National Labor Relations Act to promote positive relations among employees and employers. For now, we wish Peter Schaumber the best of luck as he leaves government service and await the announcement of who the President will nominate to replace him.

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