Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New NLRB Officially Here

NLRBYesterday, the new NLRB member were sworn in.  The new members also announced their new chief counsels.  According to the announcement.

National Labor Relations Board Members Sharon Block, Terence F. Flynn and Richard F. Griffin were sworn in to office this week, bringing the Board to full five‑member strength for the first time since August 2010. They join Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Member Brian Hayes, who were Senate-confirmed to their positions in June, 2010. . . .

Ms. Block has named John Colwell as her Chief Counsel. Mr. Colwell served as Chief Counsel to former Chairman Wilma B. Liebman from January 2001 until the end of her final term in August 2011.  Before coming to the Board, he held positions in the immediate Office of the Solicitor in the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as having served as an advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.  Mr. Colwell began his legal career with the Washington, D.C. labor-and-employment law firm of Yablonski, Both & Edelman.  Mr. Colwell received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1985.  He is a graduate of Permian High School in Odessa, Texas.

Mr. Flynn has named Peter Carlton as his Chief Counsel. Mr. Carlton has been an attorney at the Board since 2001, most recently serving as Senior Counsel to Member Brian Hayes.  He has served as Chief Counsel to Member Peter Kirsanow, Assistant Chief Counsel to Chairman Wilma Liebman and Member Dennis Walsh, and Senior Counsel to  Members Peter Schaumber and William Cowen and Chairmen Peter Hurtgen and the late John Truesdale. A native of Dearborn, Michigan, Mr. Carlton graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1975 with a B.A. degree in English literature.  He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1986, and for several years was an assistant professor at St. John’s University in Minnesota.  Mr. Carlton received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1996, and served as judicial clerk to the Hon. George G. Fagg of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  He came to the Board from the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day.  

Mr. Griffin has named Peter D. Winkler as his Chief Counsel. Mr. Winkler has worked at the NLRB since 1977 and served as Chief Counsel to former Members Craig Becker, Dennis P. Walsh, Ronald Meisburg, and R. Alexander Acosta. He also was managing supervisor in the Appellate Court Branch, Division of Enforcement. Mr. Winkler received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1973, his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Winkler’s father was also a labor lawyer, and a Board attorney from 1938 through 1979.

It'll be interesting to see what cases the now full-Board starts tackling initially.  Also, we'll see whether the Board revisits some of the tables election rules or starts looking at other rulemaking opportunities.


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Do you think we might have a New Process Steel-type challenge to the Board, on the theory that the recess appointments were not constitutionally proper? Maybe there's one already in the works.

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Jan 11, 2012 11:56:38 AM

On a sad note, at least from this labor law professor's perspective, was the decision in Two Sisters issued by the previous Board on December 29, 2011. As many of you know, I have been an ardent opponent of captive audience meetings by employers in the workplace because, among other reasons, such speech should be considered inherently coercive and not protected.

Alas, my friend, Craig Becker, said as much in dissent in Two Sisters, but Pearce and Hayes decided not to reach the issue. I guess my new hope is a better case will present the captive audience meeting issue again and the newly-constructed board will strike down this employer intimidation tactic.

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda | Jan 11, 2012 6:03:44 PM

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