In new letter, Members of Congress call for thorough review of National Labor Relations Board vote to weaken protections for workers and undermine collective bargaining
Last week, NLRB reversed a key worker protection decision in partisan vote with no public input
Members of Congress cite concerns with key Board member’s potential conflicts of interest
“This decision will make it harder for millions of workers to advocate for better wages and support their families, and it goes against everything President Trump promised working people during the campaign.” – LINK
(Washington, D.C.) – Led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Representatives Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Member, William Emanuel, voicing their concerns that his vote to overturn the Board’s 2015 Browning Ferris decision was compromised by his former law firm’s representation of a party in that case when it was before the Board. The Browning Ferris decision ensured that workers’ right to collectively bargain was still protected in a changing 21st century economy. This new decision will shield certain employers across the country who indirectly, but importantly, control workers’ terms and conditions of employment from liability and collective bargaining obligations. The law firm that employed Member Emanuel just months ago represented one of the employers in Browning Ferris, creating a potential conflict of interest. The Members of Congress demanded answers on Emanuel’s recusal obligations.
“The Hy-Brand decision represents a low-point for the Board,” wrote the members. “This decision by you and the two other Republican Members of the Board is a rushed and ill-considered action that will have long-term repercussions for the Board’s reputation as a neutral administrator of the NLRA. The headlong rush to nullify the BFI decision without fair process or consideration of the collateral impact will strip away the NLRA’s protections from millions of workers.”
The Republican-controlled Board jammed through this decision two days before the now former-Chair Miscimarra’s term expired. Additionally, the Board broke with its long established practice by failing to invite briefs from the public regarding the significant reversal of the decision.
Full text of the letter below and PDF can be found HERE.
December 21, 2017
Hon. William Emanuel
National Labor Relations Board
1015 Half Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20570
Dear Member Emanuel:
We write with regard to your participation in the National Labor Relations Board’s (Board) decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors (Hy-Brand) and the Board’s motions for remand in Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) and Volkswagen Group of America (Volkswagen). Last week, you provided a determinative vote in Hy-Brand to overturn the Board’s previous decision in BFI, which held that companies with indirect or reserved control of the terms and conditions of employment could be a “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 
The Hy-Brand decision represents a low-point for the Board. The Board broke with its long established practice by failing to invite briefs from the public regarding this significant reversal. The Board took this step although the BFI decision itself remains under review by a federal court of appeals. The Board took this action although no party in Hy-Brand sought such a step, and did so in a case involving a single employer that could have been easily resolved on the facts. This decision by you and the two other Republican Members of the Board is a rushed and ill-considered action that will have long-term repercussions for the Board’s reputation as a neutral administrator of the NLRA. This headlong rush to nullify the BFI decision without fair process or consideration of the collateral impact will strip away the NLRA’s protections from millions of workers.
Additionally, we note that Littler Mendelson, the law firm where you were a shareholder until joining the Board less than three months ago, represented one of the parties in both BFI and Volkswagen when they were before the Board.
Accordingly, we request that you provide us the following information by January 12, 2018: