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Ex-Union Buster Turned NLRB Member Divulges Over 100 Additional Former Clients

Emanuel disclosed a more complete list of firms who employed his legal services in the past two years.

Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board William Emanuel's most recent disclosures show that the union avoidance specialist was hired by Wells Fargo and other major companies. (Photo: raymondclarkeimages / Flickr)

Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board revealed the names of more than a hundred more former clients and committed to recusing himself from matters they might have before his agency.

William Emanuel disclosed a more complete list of firms who employed his legal services in the past two years, after prodding from Democratic Senators. Before his appointment to the NLRB, Emanuel worked as a partner for Littler Mendelson, a law firm that specializes in union-busting consultancy.

The lawmakers had noted that while the confirmation process merely asks nominees to declare who had recently hired them for $5,000 or more, the Trump administration had asked its nominees to avoid government work that directly involves all past clients.

Emanuel’s most recent disclosures show that the union avoidance specialist was hired by Amazon, CarMax, Direct TV, Target, Wells Fargo, and Wegmans, among other major companies. The management side attorney’s services were also sought by major players in the media world: CBS, the Hearst Corporation, and Time, Inc.

Emanuel had previously revealed he was paid more than $5,000 each by 48 companies — not including his law firm. That list included major brand names: FedEx, Uber, Toshiba, Staples, Safeway, Rite Aid, and Nissan, among others.

The updated disclosures show Emanuel was hired by a total of 161 companies in the past two years.

“As I pledged under Executive Order 13770, for two years following my appointment to the NLRB, I will recuse myself in all Board cases in which my ‘former employer,’ Littler Mendelson, or my own ‘former clients,’ are a party or represent a party,” Emanuel wrote last week.

The NLRB member also listed current cases that Littler attorneys are arguing before the board, enumerating almost fifty disputes involving the likes of Uber, Nissan and AT&T, among other major corporations.

The Democratic Senators had pressed Emanuel for a complete list of Littler’s clients, but the labor regulator said it wasn’t possible.

“As a Member of the NLRB and neutral adjudicator, I do not have access to the current client lists of private firms, including my former employer, Littler Mendelson,” Emanuel said. “As such, I am unable to provide the list requested.”

The new details about Emanuel’s former clientele was announced on Tuesday, in a press release from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Warren had previously asked for more information about Emanuel’s past work alongside eleven other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, including Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Any move by Emanuel to recuse himself will make it harder for Republicans to advance policy initiatives through the NLRB.

The board is an independent agency with three voting Republicans and two voting Democratic members. Emanuel sitting out matters “could leave many cases before the NLRB that are decided along party lines in a 2-2 deadlock,” as Warren’s staff noted on Tuesday.

Emanuel’s recusals might even see Trump’s NRLB temporarily with a Democratic majority, in certain cases. Current Chair Phil Miscimarra isn’t seeking to stay on at the board, after his term expires in December. The White House hasn’t yet nominated a replacement.

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