Washington Examiner: Businesses, GOP praise Trump pick for labor board

Business groups and Republicans praised President Trump's choice late Tuesday of lawyer William Emanuel to serve on the National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency.

With Trump's nomination of Marvin Kaplan to the labor board last week, the picks would give the five-member board its first Republican majority since President George W. Bush's administration.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R.N.C., and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., chairman of the health, education, labor and pensions subcommittee, said they hoped that a GOP-led board would work to reverse rules instituted by the Democratic majority former President Barack Obama appointed to the board.

"After years of an activist agenda that put the interests of union leaders over hard-working men and women, it's long past time to move the NLRB in a new direction. From the ambush election rule to the joint employer scheme, the partisan policies put in place during the Obama administration consistently promoted special interests while destroying jobs and restricting workplace freedom," they said in a joint statement.

Business and Republican groups had complained bitterly that the board tilted heavily pro-union under Obama and said they hoped Trump's nominations indicated a shift in the other direction.

"We are thrilled to see Marvin and William nominated to the NLRB. A full and complete NLRB has been one of the top priorities for companies that are grappling with the misguided decisions of the previous board," said Evan Armstrong, vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, said, "Emanuel's extensive experience practicing labor law will be an important asset," and that his committee would move quickly to get him and Kaplan confirmed.

Emanuel is a shareholder with Littler Mendelson, a management-side law firm that specializes in labor matters, often before the labor board. ""Our clients and colleagues have benefitted tremendously from Bill's counsel over the years," the firm said in a statement Wednesday.

Kaplan is chief counsel of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent agency that hears appeals of citations and penalties by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was previously a Republican staffer for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The NLRB is an independent federal agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act, which sets out the rules for workplace unions. The board's five members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The board has two open seats. While the current chairman, Philip Miscimarra, is a Republican pick, the other two members are Democrats and the board operates through simple majority.