The White House reappointed Mark Pearce to serve another five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a win for Democrats and pro-union interests late Tuesday.
President Donald Trump’s decision follows weeks of criticism over Pearce’s tenure at the NLRB, an independent federal agency in charge of enforcing labor law and resolving worker-management disputes. (RELATED: Trump Should Boot Big Labor Ally Mark Pearce From Labor Board, Conservatives Say)
“[Pearce] has demonstrated an unwillingness to put aside his personal pro-union views and acted in a manner that conflicts with the role of an NLRB member, which is to represent the public interest in labor disputes,” a letter signed by five conservative groups led by the free-market think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute said on Aug. 23.
Pearce’s term ended on Aug. 27. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer lobbied the White House for Pearce’s return to the board, according to Bloomberg. Schumer and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reached an agreement Tuesday to confirm seven of Trump’s judicial nominees, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
“The Pearce NLRB overturned more than 4,000 years of board precedent in 90 some cases,” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote on Aug. 16, blasting Pearce’s time chairing the labor board under former President Barack Obama.
Pearce’s presence does not affect the party power dynamic on the board. The NLRB was designed to be a partisan agency, slanted three board members to two in favor of the party of the president. Pearce’s damage has come through slowing down and obstructing Trump’s labor agenda through bureaucratic processes.
Pearce also led a successful campaign to force Republican board member Bill Emanuel to recuse himself on a decision that would have repealed the Obama board’s “joint-employer” ruling. The ruling overturned decades of precedent to broadly define a “joint-employer” as any two employers that share “direct or indirect” control over employees. The ruling had a heavy impact on franchisers, making them liable for labor violations at any of their franchised locations. Emanuel’s recusal on the case hung the board on a 2-2 decision to overturn the ruling, leaving it in place.
“I was disappointed that [Pearce], who was responsible for so much economic uncertainty and damage, was being considered for another term,” Andy Puzder, who Trump first wanted to be secretary of labor, told The Washington Free Beacon. “Once he’s on the board it means Big Labor will have a zealous advocate who isn’t reluctant to overreach in pursuit of his political objectives.”
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