Trump’s nominations to federal labor panel set up new Republican majority

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By Brandon VerVelde

The federal panel that oversees labor issues will soon have two new members, as President Donald J. Trump has nominated attorneys Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to fill the open slots.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will have a 3-2 Republican majority if the Senate confirms the choices.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R, Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate labor committee, said his panel will “move promptly to consider” the nominations once their formal paperwork is received.

“William Emanuel’s extensive experience practicing labor law will be an important asset at the NLRB,” Alexander said in a statement. He also said Kaplan would be an “effective member” of the NLRB.

The NLRB acts as a quasi-judicial body in hearing and deciding cases arising from workplace disputes, primarily between workers and management.

In recent years, the decisions have been derided by small business groups, including AAHOA. The board dramatically expanded the joint employer standard, authorized the creation of so-called micro-unions and endorsed “ambush” union elections.

“Undoing the damage of the decisions by the NLRB will take years,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AAHOA. “But we’re hopeful that President Trump’s new appointees will use common sense and their significant experience to again find balance between the interests of labor unions and business owners. For too long, the NLRB has tipped the scales drastically in favor of unions.”

Reversing decisions by the NLRB is also on the House labor committee’s agenda this week. On Thursday, June 29, the panel will take action on Michigan Republican Rep. Tim Walberg’s bill, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would undo both the ambush election ruling and micro-union ruling.

The Department of Labor has already taken steps to roll back the previous administration’s actions on labor issues, including rescinding informal guidance on joint employment. Despite being informal, employers and courts give significant weight to the guidance.

Rogers called the rescinding a good first step.

“This move by the Labor Department is welcome, and we applaud it. The informal guidance issued in previous years only served to further muddy the waters for hardworking American business owners trying decipher the laws, rules, regulations and so-called ‘guidance’ coming out of the federal government,” Rogers said. “We’ll continue to fight for the franchise business model, which is responsible for creating millions of jobs and paving the way for tens of thousands of hoteliers to achieve the American Dream.”

Brandon VerVelde is director of Government Affairs Communication for AAHOA. He can be reached at brandon@aahoa.com.

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