Business groups and unions describe President Obama’s picks to fill the two vacant Democratic seats on the National Labor Relations Board as experienced labor attorneys on the union side. Unions are cheering Obama’s choices, announced on April 24, but business organizations are bracing for potential reversals of some Bush-era NLRB decisions.
Craig Becker, associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, and Mark Pearce, a founding partner of the New York law firm Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux, are expected to gain Senate confirmation. The third vacant board seat will be filled with a Republican, who has not yet been named.
NLRB has been operating with only two of five members since last summer: Chairwoman Wilma Liebman, a Democrat, and Republican Peter Schaumber, who was chairman from March 2008 until the end of Bush’s term in January.
With only two members, the board has been unwilling to take on controversial cases, says Denise Gold, Associated General Contractors’ associate general counsel for labor and employment law. When the board returns to full strength, it may tackle tough construction-related issues. Liebman has said, for example, that addressing union bannering, in which unions post banners criticizing wages paid by contractors and subcontractors on construction sites, is one of her top priorities.