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Businesses Say ‘Yes’ to Robb as Labor Board’s Top Lawyer

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Peter Robb, a Vermont management-side labor lawyer, is expected to be named general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), pending a background check as reported in various industry publications. Robb would replace outgoing NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin whose term expires Oct. 31.

 

Robb currently represents businesses in labor disputes at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC and, with the board slated to have a GOP majority for the first time in a decade, is a key nomination for business advocates who are anxious to see the board reconsider various Obama-era worker-friendly decisions. These include the expansion of joint-employer liability, shortening the time period for union elections, and limiting employers’ use of contracts to block class actions by their workforce.

 

This would not be Robb’s first employment with the agency. Early in his career, he worked as an NLRB field attorney and later as chief counsel for then-member Robert P. Hunter, who served on the board from 1981 to 1985.

 

The general counsel position has broad authority to issue unfair labor practice charges and bring cases before the NLRB. With this control, Robb would be able to select appropriate “test cases” for the newly formed GOP-majority board, which would  reverse Obama-era decisions that business owners say tilt too favorably toward the union agenda. Even assuming Robb lands the position and takes over in late October, it will likely be months before any potential test cases are heard by the board.

 

Joseph Hess

Joseph D. Hess is an associate in the Grand Rapids office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Department.

Mr. Hess counsels and defends employers and managers across all industries in a wide range of pre-litigation and litigation matters, including discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII and state-law counterparts, wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and restrictive covenants. His practice also involves handling traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including multiple facets of collective bargaining and defending against unfair labor practice charges.

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