Trump’s Scandal-Plagued Labor Board Will Soon Be Back to Full Strength

Republicans look set this week to fill the vacancy on President Trump’s embattled National Labor Relations Board.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 50-47 to limit debate on John Ring, the nominee to fill the seat previously held by former NLRB chair Phil Miscimarra.

Ring is currently a partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius, a union-busting management side law firm, based in Philadelphia. Some of his recent major clients include Amazon, Marriott, Xerox, and Google, according to financial disclosures.

Miscimarra stepped down in December, after quickly ushering through a series of rulings, with Republicans set to temporarily lose their Board majority upon his retirement.

One of those decisions — a reversal of an Obama-era expansion of corporate liability for franchise practices — was lambasted in February by the NLRB Inspector General.

The comptroller found that Republican Board member Bill Emanuel should have recused himself, citing a major conflict of interest. Emanuel’s former law firm, Littler Mendelson, had argued against the Obama administration’s ruling on joint employment.

The Inspector General also said Miscimarra improperly used the underlying case, Hy-Brand, to overturn the Obama-era standard set in Browning-Ferris.

“[T]here is no material discussion of the Hy-Brand matter in the part of the decision that overrules Browning-Ferris,” said IG David Berry.

The report caused the Board to vacate Hy-Brand, in a move that has led to finger-pointing and recriminations among Republicans.

During his confirmation hearing, Ring said that the December vote put a “cloud over the NLRB.” Last week, in a legal motion, however, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb urged the Board to reconsider its reversal of Hy-Brand.

In recent weeks, Robb has also moved quickly to seek judicial approval of a settlement, in a case involving McDonald’s workers, based on Browning-Ferris.

Hundreds of workers for the fast food giant say they were harassed and punished for joining the Fight For 15 movement to increase the federal minimum wage. Their lawyers are asking for the settlement to be thrown out. Last week, an administrative law judge heard arguments in litigation over the deal.