(November 8, 2017) — The U.S. Senate confirmed management-side labor lawyer Peter Robb as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, which sets the stage for the NLRB to overturn some key decisions of the Obama NLRB’s legacy.
Robb was confirmed by a 49-46 vote. As general counsel, he will lead a Republican-controlled labor board that’s expected to overturn many rulings issued under the previous administration that business leaders criticized for favoring workers at the expense of employers. Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel were sworn in to the board’s two vacancies in August and September giving the Republican party its first board majority in several years.
As the new NLRB general counsel, Peter Robb will guide the progression of labor charges from the board’s regional field offices to the board itself, putting him in control of an expected shift toward business-friendly policy. As the new general counsel of the NLRB, Robb will decide which cases get in front of the NLRB. He succeeds former President Obama’s appointee Richard Griffin, who left office in October after four years marked by a broad intrpretation of workers’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
Among the rulings experts expect to see reversed with the Republican board are the Browning-Ferris Industries decision expanding the agency’s interpretation of when a business is a joint employer under the NLRA and the D.R. Horton decision barring employment agreements that block workers from filing class actions.
Robb received his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1976, and worked as a field attorney in the NLRB’s Baltimore office for three years. He then spent several years as a supervisory attorney with the Federal Labor Relations Authority. In 1982, he joined then-NLRB member Robert Hunter’s staff and was later named Hunter’s chief counsel. In that position, he supervised a team of about 20 attorneys. Robb also practiced at Proskauer Rose LLP for approximately 10 years beginning in 1985. Robb is currently a member of the American Bar Association’s practice and procedures committee for the NLRB.