Great news for Management! On November 8, 2017, by a vote of 49 to 46, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Peter Robb to be the new General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. Robb, a Management-side labor attorney from Vermont, has been critical of many of the Obama Board’s decisions, including the NLRB’s “Quickie Election” Rule.
On October 4, 2017, Senator Lamar Alexander (R, Tenn.) held a hearing on Robb’s nomination. During Robb’s testimony, he stated that he would uphold the core values of the National Labor Relations Act, including the right to refrain from union activity. He further stated that he would make it a priority to ensure the rights of employees who dissent from their unions’ positions, and that he would set a higher bar for unions to prove that they have the majority support of workers before certifying an election.
Peter Robb will bring fair and balanced decision-making to the Board. During the October 4 hearing, Senator Alexander stated, “When the Board is too partisan, it creates instability in our nation’s workplaces and creates confusion for employers, employees, and unions.”
With the Robb’s confirmation and the Republican majority at the NLRB restored, the NLRB is now poised to roll back some of the egregious decisions of the Obama Board. The NLRB is likely to revisit a number of issues from the past eight years that have tilted the playing field in favor of unions, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Independent contractor status under the NLRA.
- A return to common sense standards for evaluating whether handbooks and work rules interfere with employee rights.
- The NLRB’s controversial decision on micro-units.
- The NLRB’s controversial ruling on Joint Employer status.
- Decisions disrespecting Employer property rights.
- Decisions impermissibly limiting the First Amendment rights of Employers.
- Granting access to Employer e-mail systems
- The NLRB’s “Quickie Election” Rule
- Erosion of “Management Rights” clauses
- Decisions protecting obnoxious/obscene/harassing behavior on the part of employees
- Decisions making it difficult for Employers to conduct confidential workplace investigations, such as those involving claims of sexual harassment
- Decisions requiring Employers to turn over to unions witness statements obtained during an Employer’s internal investigation.