Senate Confirms New Top Board Attorney
The full Senate confirmed a new General Counsel (“GC”), or top attorney, for the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”), Richard Griffin. Griffin replaces Lafe Solomon who was named Acting GC by President Obama in June 2010 following the resignation of Ronald Meisburg.
Earlier this year, Griffin was serving on the five-member Board when his appointment was found invalid by two federal courts, starting with the infamous Noel Canning decision.
Many people doubt whether Griffin will be able to serve without bias due to his union background. Griffin previously served in various capacities including as general counsel at the International Union of Operating Engineers (“IUOE”), on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, and as a member of the board of trustees of the IUOE’s central pension fund. Many fear Griffin’s background may result in pro-union bias in rule-making, adjudications, and decisions to investigate and prosecute cases. This is of particular concern because as head of investigation and prosecution of labor law violations, the GC is independent from the Board and many feel the GC has as much power as a Board Member. However, none of this should be a surprise as the same was said (and was probably true) of his immediate predecessor. The upcoming months should be very telling.
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