Vice President, Labor Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
August 31, 2023
As observers of labor policy know, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) consists of five members whose five-year terms expire in succession so that one member’s term ends each year either in August or December. This year, Member Gwynne Wilcox’s term came due, expiring on Sunday, August 27.
Wilcox’s departure will drop the Board to a 2-1 Democratic majority for at least some time until after Labor Day. While Wilcox has been renominated and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) voted to advance her confirmation in July, the full Senate did not confirm her prior to its annual August break.
Thus, the NLRB will have Wilcox’s vacancy, as well as one open Republican seat, for the time being. That time may be short, however, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (along with several Senate colleagues) has already filed a cloture motion for the Wilcox nomination, and it will be ready for a floor vote upon the Senate’s return. The Republican seat has been vacant since late 2022, and a nominee has yet to be publicly named, although word is that White House vetting is underway.
The U.S. Chamber is urging the Senate to hold off on the Wilcox vote until it can be paired with a Republican nominee, in keeping with Senate tradition when there are vacancies for each party. Whether or not Senator Schumer bucks that tradition or follows it remains to be seen.