The Federalist Society recently published a piece by veteran Foundation Attorney Glenn Taubman describing the “seismic policy shifts” at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that have occurred in the first 100 days of the Biden administration.
Taubman explains the unprecedented nature of Biden’s decision to fire NLRB general Counsel Peter Robb, who had 10 months left on his Senate-confirmed term:
“No previous president had ever fired a General Counsel in the 75-year history of the agency, presumably out of respect for the Constitution’s “advice and consent” process for Senate confirmation, and Congress’ statutory provision of a four-year term for General Counsels that overlaps the staggered five-year terms of the Board members.”
Taubman also discusses how Biden replaced Robb with Peter Ohr, a longtime NLRB bureaucrat, who quickly and aggressively moved to undo efforts to protect workers from having their rights violated by union officials:
[O]nce installed, Acting General Counsel Ohr quickly set to work reversing the policies of his predecessor. Only days after being appointed he issued Memo 21-02, rescinding ten of General Counsel Robb’s guidance memoranda. Such a mass rescission of guidance memos is both astonishing and unprecedented. Moreover, General Counsel Robb had issued those memos precisely to protect individual employees from labor union abuses…
Acting General Counsel Ohr has moved to withdraw cases and briefs filed by his predecessor, all to prevent those issues from being decided by the current NLRB, which still maintains a majority of President Trump’s appointees. For example, Ohr ordered two cases challenging neutrality agreements withdrawn, just weeks before they were set for trial. He asked the Board to remand for dismissal a fully briefed case challenging a union’s refusal to give a copy of its neutrality agreement to an adversely affected employee, stating that he would have never issued that complaint. He successfully withdrew an amicus brief General Counsel Robb had filed in a case of nationwide importance concerning modifications to the “contract bar.” Most recently, Ohr has sought to enforce a last-minute unilateral settlement to moot a fully briefed case challenging the legality of a dues checkoff authorization that contained threatening “MUST BE SIGNED” language.
In sum, President Biden and his Acting General Counsel are working to benefit union officials, to the detriment of individual employee rights in the workplace. The speed of their policy shifts has been staggering to behold, and worker advocates are preparing for even more pro-union decisions from Biden’s upcoming appointees.
By firing Peter Robb, President Biden violated 75 years of precedent, and possibly the law, to enact an agenda that protects union bosses at the expense of rank-and-file workers
Read Glenn Taubman’s full Federalist Society article here.