Often the final stop for National Labor Relations Act-rooted workplace grievances, the National Labor Relations Board is nearing return to a full bench, perhaps poised for a philosophical shift more sympathetic to unions. The White House has added to its Board Member nominees Brian Hayes, Republican Labor Policy Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He follows Democrats President Obama nominated in April: Mark Gaston Pearce, a union side labor and employment law attorney and founding partner of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux in Buffalo, N.Y.; and, Craig Becker, associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. AFL-CIO Now Blog contributor Seth Michaels characterized Pearce and Becker as two key allies of America's working families whose appointments reflect the president's commitment to ensuring strong voices for workers in his administration.
If confirmed by the Senate, the group would join NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman and Member Peter Schaumber, who have heard cases since December 2007, when the Board was last at its full five members. The Board traditionally includes three members of the party controlling the White House. A former legal counsel to Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen and Teamsters unions, Chairman Liebman was elevated from a Member post shortly after President Obama took office. She succeeded Schaumber, who President George W. Bush appointed as chair, having earlier nominated Schaumber and Liebman, respectively, to second and third Member terms.
A small pool of Board and NLRB Regional Director or Administrative Law Judge decisions involving concrete and aggregate plant-related cases during the Bush administration shows slight favor to employers, including Aggregate Industries and Graniterock, each challenging Teamsters locals' illegal work stoppages; and, Rinker Materials, prevailing in a Tennessee bargaining unit dispute. In April, Liebman and Schaumber affirmed a Regional Director's findings against Spurlino Materials LLC in an unfair labor practice and work-scheduling case brought by Indianapolis Teamsters Local 716.