Rumors of Acosta Judgeship

Labor Secretary Acosta’s cautious approach to dismantling Obama-era policies has led to rumors that he is using the position to bide his time while he waits for a judgeship nomination, possibly eyeing an appellate bench as a pathway to the Supreme Court. Rumors of his judgeship aspirations are not new, following along with him through a prestigious career that has included legal appointments under President Bush. A recent Bloomberg article, which interviewed friends and associates of Acosta, also seems to point to that belief.

Acosta, a former US Attorney and law school dean, as well as a long-time member of the Federalist Society, checks many of the boxes that would make him a desirable judge candidate. His age of 49 would also mean that he could hold his position for decades. It is unknown if the White House has Acosta on its radar for any judicial positions, but a source close to Acosta credits Acosta’s choice of keeping a low profile during his first year in office to the  delays in confirming DOL personnel.

Read more about the speculations here.

Kaplan Named NLRB Chairman

President Trump has named Marvin E. Kaplan as Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), replacing Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra, whose term expired on December 16, 2017. Kaplan was sworn in as a Board Member in August 2017, for a term ending in August 2020.

Prior to his NLRB appointment, Chairman Kaplan had a prestigious career, serving as Chief Counsel to the Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, as counsel for the House Committee on Oversight Government Reform, and as policy counsel for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Read the full NLRB press release here.

BREAKING: NLRB Overrules Browning-Ferris

The National Labor Relations Board has voted to overrule Browning-Ferris guidelines for joint-employer liability established in 2015. Going forward, under the standards held prior to the Browning-Ferris ruling, “two or more entities will be deemed joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if there is proof that one entity has exercised control over essential employment terms of another entity’s employees (rather than merely having reserved the right to exercise control) and has done so directly and immediately (rather than indirectly) in a manner that is not limited and routine.”

Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra, and Members Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel provided the majority opinion.  Members Mark Gaston Pearce and Lauren McFerran dissented.

Read the full press release here.

NLRB General Counsel Poised to Rescind Obama-Era Rulings

Bloomberg has reported after an exclusive interview with Peter Robb, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel, that Robb looks poised to reverse many Obama-era rulings. Robb instructed his staff in a December 1 memo to prepare talking points for all policy changes over the last eight years, as well as any rulings with dissenting opinions.

Robb stated, “Basically, you’re looking at a list of things that I think we need to be prepared to talk about and provide a position to the board.”

Robb was confirmed as general counsel on November 8. Read Bloomberg’s full article here.

Peter Robb Sworn In as NLRB General Counsel

Attorney Peter B. Robb

Peter B. Robb was sworn in as General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today for a four year term. He was nominated by President Trump in September and was confirmed by the Senate on November 8.

Mr. Robb stated, “I have always believed in the core values expressed in the National Labor Relations Act, which, in essence, is to protect the rights of employees to engage in union or other protected, concerted activity with respect to wages, hours and working conditions, as well as the rights of employees to refrain from such activities.  And, once employees have freely chosen a labor organization to represent them, the Act promotes collective bargaining.  These principles are part of the foundation of our successful economic system.”

Prior to his nomination, Mr. Robb worked as a Director for the law firm Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC. He also served on the American Bar Association’s Practice and Procedures Committee for the NLRB.

Read the full press release here.

Acosta Scrutinizing Worker Centers

During a recent oversight hearing before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Labor Secretary Acosta hinted that his department may revise its interpretation of laws that govern work centers and how they disclose finances.

Conservative think tanks and lobby groups  have proposed that organizations like the Fight for $15, OUR Walmart, and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United to be classified as traditional labor organizations under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), making them subject to the same financial disclosure rules as unions.

The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, which enforces the LMRDA, has set policy directions to prioritize robust oversight of large union headquarters in the past, but saw their funding cut during the Obama-era. Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx asked Acosta for a detailed response on what his department plans to do to restore the OLMS to its previous capacity.

Read more about the ongoing changes under Acosta and further discussion about this issue here.

UAW Accused of Discrimination Against Employees

United Autoworkers Union (UAW) lost a unionization vote in an Ohio-based Fuyao Glass Group Industries plant this past week after attempting underhanded maneuvers to win by discriminating against employees. In their request for an election, UAW petitioned to exclude nonimmigrant visa employees from casting ballots. The majority of these employees are Chinese, and less likely to vote for unionization.

UAW did not succeed in their attempt, but they did succeed in excluding temporary nonimmigrant employees from voting, despite the fact these employees are not hired with a definite end date for employment and may be employed at the factory long-term. Although nonimmigrant visa employees only comprise about 80 people in the plant, votes have been won or lost by fewer numbers.

Read more about UAW’s discrimination here.

Peter Robb Confirmed as NLRB General Counsel

Senate labor committee Chairman Lamar Alexander has announced that Peter Robb has been confirmed as the National Labor Relation Board’s General Counsel. Chairman Alexander also released the following statement: 

“As General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, Peter Robb will have an opportunity to help restore the labor board to the role of a neutral umpire in labor disputes after years of the board acting more like an advocate for organized labor under the previous administration. Mr. Robb will have the important role of protecting workers’ rights and assisting employers if some of their employees want to form a union. I’m hopeful that he will help bring stability to our nation’s workplaces.”

The Senate labor committee held Mr. Robb’s hearing on October 4 (link here). Read more about Mr. Robb here, and the full press release on Mr. Robb’s confirmation here.

12 Things to Know About Janus v. AFSCME

U.S. workers have been waiting anxiously for the Supreme Court to rule on Janus v. AFSCME, a case that is expected to change labor law nationally by eliminating union-forced dues. Mark Janus and two other Illinois workers serve as plaintiffs in this case. They argue mandatory dues violate their First Amendment rights, and seek to reverse a decades-old ruling that permitted unions to collect dues from nonmembers.

The current case mirrors an almost identical case heard by the Supreme Court in 2016 (Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association). Justice Scalia’s death resulted in a split decision on that case, though Justice Gorsuch is expected to tip the scales in Janus’s favor.

InsideSources has compiled a comprehensive discussion list regarding Janus v. AFSCME. Entitled “12 Things You Should Know About Janus v. AFSCME,” the article touches on Gorsuch and Friedrichs, as well as other important details surrounding the Janus case. Read the complete list here.