Readers of this blog are likely familiar with the National Labor Relations Board. Essentially, though, the NLRB is the federal agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. The act provides certain rights to most private-sector employees. These rights include the right to organize, create unions and engage in collective bargaining, among others. But, with the new administration set to begin on January 20, what can we expect?
NLRB’s current makeup
According to some experts, the current NLRB has been pro-employer for the past four years, which has, among many reforms, made it much easier for employers to make unilateral changes without union input or consent. The NLRB is currently staffed by one Democrat and three Republicans, with one seat vacant. This means that, assuming he President-elect Biden can fill the vacant seat, it will still be controlled by the current three Republicans. This will be true until August 2021 when one Republican seat expires. Then, in November 2021, the current Republican General Counsel’s position also expires.
What has President-elect Joe Biden said?
In his own words, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to be “the strongest labor president you have ever had.” And, as part of that promise, he has supported the PRO Act, which is pro-union rewrite of the NLRA that passed the House in 2020. This act would empower the NLRB to issue large financial penalties on employers that violate the NLRA, require bargaining after an initial certification from a new union and weaken right-to-work laws, among many other provisions.
What does this all mean?
For our readers in Princeton, New Jersey, this means that much like in the winter of 2017, when the NLRB transitioned to a pro-employer model, in the winter of 2021, the NLRB will likely transition to a pro-labor model. This is the normal course of elections though, and for specific counsel, we encourage our readers to contact their attorney.