With the confirmation of Peter Robb as general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Trump administration took another step away from Obama-era labor policies. Robb replaces Richard Griffin, who had a reputation for being pro-labor, in the board position that functionally serves as chief executive officer, despite the title.
As the NLRB’s top prosecutor, Robb supervises the Board’s regional offices to determine which cases come before the Board, thus setting the direction of National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) enforcement. He is likely to choose cases that can serve to reverse pro-employee, pro-labor decisions decided during Griffin’s tenure. During the Senate confirmation hearings, Robb made clear that he believes a “core value” of the NLRA is the right of employees to refrain from union activity. If he prioritizes ensuring the rights of employees who dissent from union positions, unions would have a more difficult time proving that they have majority support from workers.
Robb earned a place in labor history when he served as attorney for President Reagan’s firing of the Air Traffic Controllers Association members who went on strike in 1981. The action marked a weakening of union political power in Washington. He was a strong critic of NLRB decisions under Democratic leadership.
While the effects of Robb’s appointment are yet to be seen, we will keep you informed on decisions as they occur.