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Loose Lips Sink Ships: Obama-Appointed NLRB Member Under Investigation



The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Inspector General appears to be very busy these days. Indeed, the NLRB made headlines last month when it vacated a decision from last year as a result of a board member having a potential conflict of interest. That result specifically came about after the agency’s Inspector General issued a report on the purported conflict.


Now, Bloomberg BNA is reporting that the Inspector General is investigating former Obama-appointed NLRB chairman – and current board member – Mark Gaston Pearce for improperly disclosing details about a case. According to the report, “The National Labor Relations Board’s chief investigator is looking into whether Member Mark Gaston Pearce (D) told a group of lawyers about a surprise decision in an important case before it was public, sources told Bloomberg Law. NLRB Inspector General David Berry is investigating claims that Pearce told attorneys at an American Bar Association event that a ‘big decision’ was coming in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case. The board a day later unexpectedly decided to scrap a precedent-setting ruling in that case, responding to conflict-of-interest concerns about Member William Emanuel (R).” We’ll see what the Inspector General concludes in this investigation and what possible consequences Pearce may face in the event it is determined he acted improperly.


There may be even more issues on the horizon for the agency, as additional conflicts of interest arguments have been raised recently. Stay tuned.

David Pryzbylski

Recently recognized as one of the top under-40 labor lawyers in the nation by Law360, David J. Pryzbylski’s interest in labor relations began early in high school, having grown up next to several of the largest steel mills in the world. Today, David is a Partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. Building on his interest in labor relations, he concentrates a large portion of his practice on assisting employers with traditional labor matters, including collective bargaining; work stoppages; arbitrations; union avoidance training and strategies; union representation elections; unfair labor practice charges; contract administration; and various other labor relations issues.

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