The Senate has confirmed Peter B. Robb to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a four-year term. Robb is presently a management-side labor and employment lawyer with the law firm Downs Rachlin Martin in Vermont. His prior employment includes serving as chief counsel to an NLRB member.
The NLRB general counsel has significant influence over the administration of the National Labor Relations Act. He or she is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practice cases, with broad discretion to determine which cases to advance and which not to advance. The general counsel is also responsible for supervising the NLRB’s field offices in the processing of cases and can issue memoranda instructing field staff on how to handle cases.
The business community is hopeful that Robb will help shift federal labor policy to a more neutral level than that during the Obama years. However, once sworn in, Robb will have only a negligible amount of time to wield such influence before a change in Board composition may slow the pace of things. As previously reported, the Board has been operating with a full complement of five members – three Republicans and two Democrats – since September 27. But Republican Philip Miscimarra’s term is set to expire on December 16, and he is not interested in another term. His departure will leave a two-to-two split until President Trump appoints, and the Senate confirms, a new member. In the interim, the Board is unlikely to issue decisions of major consequence.
AGC will continue to monitor the situation and report on important developments.