UPDATE: Senate confirms Trump administration pick to lead National Labor Relations Board
UPDATE April 13, 2018: John Ring, confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, will join the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as its chairman, the White House announced late Thursday. He will replace Marvin Kaplan, whom Trump tapped to lead less than four months ago after the departure of Philip Miscimarra. Kaplan will remain on the board, preserving the 3-2 Republican majority.
- In a 50-48 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Trump administration pick John Ring to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Wednesday.
- Ring, most recently a management-side labor and employment attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, fills the position left by former NLRB chair Philip Miscimarra. Marvin Kaplan, confirmed as a board member in August 2017, remains the current chair.
- The confirmation also restores a 3-2 Republican majority to the board, meaning the path to revisiting key decisions affecting employers — including the Browning-Ferris joint employer ruling and the so-called quickie election rule affecting worker unionization — has been at least partially restored.
With its 3-2 majority on the board restored, there's little stopping the Trump administration from resuming its rollback of Obama-era labor regulations, a process briefly interrupted by the departure of Republican board member Miscimarra last December.
NLRB general counsel Peter B. Robb, the official in charge of bringing cases before the board, has plenty of issues on deck. Browning-Ferris is likely top of mind, however, especially given news Monday that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will reconsider the rule once the drama over Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd. and Brandt Construction Co., the case by which the Browning-Ferris standard was overturned, is resolved.
The NLRB vacated its decision in Hy-Brand following a conflict-of-interest controversy that involved board member Bill Emanuel. Robb's office has since asked the NLRB to reconsider its decision to vacate Hy-Brand, calling it "an extraordinary three-member ruling without precedent in the annals of Board law." With Ring confirmed, the NLRB could opt to seek another case to address Browning-Ferris, even though Ring has also been the subject of conflict-of-interest speculations, Politico's Morning Shift reports.
As the dust settles, HR departments are left to plan with counsel ahead of time to ready compliance measures. That includes running through employee handbooks and any publication of applicable company policy.