NLRB Get New Chairman, Mark Pearce.
The National Labor Relations Board has a new chairman: Mark Pearce, a Democrat. But business groups and Republicans are expecting more of the same from the agency they say favors unions over employers.
President Barack Obama named Mr. Pearce, already a board member, as chairman of the quasi-judicial board over the weekend. Mr. Pearce succeeds Wilma Liebman, whose term expired Saturday after 14 years with the agency, most recently as its chairman. Her departure leaves the board with three members — two of them Democrats – and just four months until the board could shrink to two members and become largely inoperable.
Under Ms. Liebman’s leadership, the board has come under fire from Republican lawmakers and employer groups, who’ve accused it of trying to bolster unions and ease union-organizing in ways that harm employers and the economy. President Obama has also been a target because the board is controlled by his appointees.
The board recently proposed to streamline union-organizing elections in a way that would speed the process and make it harder for employers to launch legal challenges before an election occurs. Employers say this would deprive them of time needed to build a case against unionization, while unions say it would limit employers’ opportunity to intimidate workers into rejecting unionization. Business groups were also riled by a recent board decision requiring employers to post workplace notices informing workers of their right to unionize. The groups said the requirement unfairly promotes unions.
Ms. Liebman said she’s “confident” the board will continue to hold fast to the values embodied by the National Labor Relations Act. The law, which grants private-sector workers the right to unionize and bargain collectively, “gives Americans a voice at work and helped to build a middle-class society,” she said in a statement.
Mr. Pearce, who joined the board in 2010, said in a statement that Ms. Liebman served with “grace and distinction.” He didn’t indicate specific plans for the board but has previously defended board decisions by saying the group was simply carrying out labor law, in part by trying to ensure that workers have an “unencumbered choice” to unionize.
Mr. Pearce previously practiced labor and employment law as a representative for unions. He has also taught at Cornell University. Source: Melanie Trottman, WSJ.