Last Friday, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Craig Becker and Mark Pearce as Members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. Click Here to read the White House Press release.
Normally the Board has five members, three from the President’s party and two from the other, but right now the Board has only two members, one Democrat and one Republican. Both of these nominees are Democrats, meaning the next will be a Republican. Here’s what the White House has to say about each:
- Craig Becker currently serves as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1978 and received his J.D. in 1981 from Yale Law School where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law. He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law between 1989 and 1994 and has also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools. He has published numerous articles on labor and employment law in scholarly journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law Review, and has argued labor and employment cases in virtually every federal court of appeals and before the United States Supreme Court.
- Mark Gaston Pearce has been a labor lawyer for his entire career. He is one of the founding partners of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux where he practices union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies including the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. Pearce in 2008 was appointed by the NYS Governor to serve as a Board Member on the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the NYS Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law. Pearce has taught several courses in the labor studies program at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension. He is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Prior to 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor law and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP. From 1979 to 1994, he was an attorney and District Trial Specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY. Pearce received his J.D. from State University of New York, and his B.A. from Cornell University.
If affirmed by the Senate, these appointments, along with NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman, will give the NLRB a solid pro-labor majority for the next four years. Regardless of what happens with the Employee Free Choice Act, you can safely expect major changes in labor law, as the Obama Board likely charts a much different course than the Board did during the Bush years.