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Murray: After Potential Ethics Violations, Board Needs to Reconsider Case that Shields Corporations from Responsibility and Undermines Worker Protections

WASHINGTON D.C.—U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the following statement on National Labor Relations Board Inspector General’s ongoing investigation into Board Member William Emanuel’s participation in actions regarding the joint employer issue, including the Hy-Brand case—an eleventh hour decision made before Chairman Miscimarra’s term expired to overturn the Board’s joint employer protections. In a report sent to the Board last week, the Inspector General stated that Emanuel’s participation in Hy-Brand called into question the validity of the decision in the case that reversed the Board’s previous position regarding joint employment. The Inspector General is continuing to investigate whether or not Emanuel violated ethics rules or his ethics pledge by participating in the joint employer-related actions.


“Since his confirmation, I have raised concerns about Member Emanuel’s ability to separate his decades long career as a corporate lawyer from his responsibilities as a Board member, so I am pleased the Board’s independent watchdog is continuing his investigation into Emanuel’s participation in a case directly involving his former employer. And due to the Inspector General’s conclusion that Emanuel’s involvement calls into question the legitimacy of the Hy-Brand decision, the Board must reconsider its decision without Member Emanuel’s participation. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure workers’ have a voice and corporations are being held responsible to respect employees’ rights."


The joint employer standard articulated in the Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) case, protected workers’ right to collectively bargain and held large corporations responsible to negotiate with workers for better pay and working conditions. Senator Murray has repeatedly questioned Emanuel’s participation in actions related to both the ­Hy-Brand  and BFI cases in December, given that Emanuel’s former employer represented a company in the BFI case, information he had provided to her prior to his confirmation.