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The United States Senate on July 28 confirmed President Biden’s two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty. Their confirmation ultimately will restore a 3-2 Democratic majority to the NLRB after approximately four years of Republican control.
Wilcox, a union attorney, was approved with a vote of 52-47, and she will immediately join the Board, filling a currently vacant seat and bringing the Board to a 3-2 Republican majority. Prouty, who is the general counsel for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, was approved by a vote of 53-46. He will join the Board at the end of August when Republican member William Emanuel’s term expires. Once Prouty takes his seat, the Board will have a 3-2 Democratic majority.
As this blog has observed previously, when that happens employers can expect to see dramatic changes in policy as the new majority seeks to reverse the more balanced approach of the current Republican majority. Democratic Chair Lauren McFerran has made this much clear in public statements in which she has expressed her belief that the Trump NLRB appointees have taken too narrow an approach to labor law and that it should be read far more broadly in a variety of ways.
What that means exactly remains to be seen, but suffice it to say that policy shifts in any number of areas ranging from joint employment to broad enforcement of so-called Section 7 rights are on their way. When they arrive, it is a safe bet that they will resemble the lopsided, union-friendly decisions issued during the Obama administration, and that’s not a good thing for businesses hoping for stability in the area of labor law.