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NLRB back to full strength: enforcement policies and priorities expected to shift in favor of employers

September 28, 2017

senate chairOn Sept. 25, 2017, the United States Senate confirmed William Emanuel as the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) newest member by a vote of 49-47. Emanuel’s confirmation follows the confirmation earlier this year of Marvin Kaplan, who was also nominated by President Donald Trump.

Prior to his confirmation, Emanuel worked in the Los Angeles office of Littler Mendelson P.C.—a labor and employment law firm that represents employers. According to a statement issued by Littler, “Emanuel represented employers in traditional labor matters, including NLRB cases, collective bargaining, labor relations, union election campaigns, strikes and picket lines, and litigation concerning union access to the private property of employers.”

With the addition of Emanuel, the NLRB now has a majority of Republican members for the first time in a decade. It is widely expected that this iteration of the NLRB will take positions more favorable for employers in all matters related to unions and employees’ right to engage in protected, concerted activities in the workplace.

President Trump will have opportunities to influence the direction of the NLRB in October 2017, when Richard Griffin’s term as the NLRB’s General Counsel expires, and December 2017, when Chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term ends. Former President Barack Obama appointed Griffin, who has been one of the driving forces behind the NLRB’s employee-friendly positions (including the claim that college football players are employees who can unionize). Chairman Miscimarra, also an Obama appointee who was elevated to the Chairman role by President Trump, has stated that does not intend to serve another term on the NLRB.

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