Yesterday, the United States Senate confirmed Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty to seats on the National Labor Relations Board (Board). These confirmations seal the deal on a Democratic majority on the Board and undoubtedly will mean re-visiting much of the Board precedent established under the Trump-era Board (which, in turn, had overturned many of the Obama Board’s most controversial decisions).
Wilcox is a partner at Levy Ratner in New York and will be the first Black woman in NLRB history to serve on the Board. Wilcox will fill a vacant seat.
Prouty is General Counsel for the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ. Prouty will fill Republican appointee William Emanuel’s seat when his term expires on August 27, 2021.
The appointments of Wilcox and Prouty will put the Board at its full 5 member strength with a 3-2 Democratic majority.
Due to the change in the political makeup of the Board, employers can expect the Biden Administration to fulfill campaign promises to shift from the more employer-friendly, Trump-era Board decisions to decisions that reflect a union- and employee-friendly focus, giving greater protections to worker organizing, collective bargaining, and the right of employees to engage in protected, concerted activity.
Employers should pay close attention to new NLRB decisions as they may have a significant impact on businesses’ interaction with their workers, as well as workplace policies and procedures. Because federal labor laws apply, in some respects, to both unionized and non-union workplaces, the Biden Board’s decisions will be important even for those companies without unionized workforces.