Executive Sessionby Senator Lamar Alexander
Posted on 2017-11-08
ALEXANDER. Mr. President, today we are voting on the nomination
of Peter Robb for general counsel of the National Labor Relations
As general counsel, Mr. Robb will have the important job of helping workers who feel their right to organize collectively has been violated or assisting employers when some of their employees want to form a union.
Mr. Robb will have an opportunity to help restore the Board to the role of a neutral umpire in labor disputes.
While partisanship at the Board did not start under the previous administration, it became far worse.
When the Board is too partisan, it creates instability in our Nation's workplaces and creates confusion for employers, employees, and unions.
For example, in 2015, at the previous general counsel's urging, an NLRB decision dramatically expanded ``joint employer'' liability, and this increased liability makes it much more likely a company will find it more practical to own and operate its stores, taking away the opportunity for a worker to own and run their own franchise.
This decision was the biggest attack on the opportunity for small business men and women to make their way into the middle class that anyone has seen in a long time, threatening to destroy the American Dream for owners of the Nation's 780,000 franchise locations.
Or consider the previous general counsel's aggressive application of the National Labor Relations Act to protect certain employees' belligerent, threatening, and discriminatory conduct.
One troubling decision involved an employer that fired a picketing employee who engaged in racist and offensive conduct on a picket line.
The Board found that the employee's remarks were ``racist, offensive and reprehensible,'' and violated the company's nondiscrimination policies and the union's conduct rules; yet the Board still ruled that the employer's discharge of the employee was unlawful.
This type of Board decision defies common sense and makes it more difficult for employers to maintain safe workplaces free of discrimination and harassment.
Mr. Robb is extremely qualified to be general counsel of the NLRB.
He currently works as the director of labor and employment at the law firm Downs Rachlin and Marin.
He served as chief counsel to NLRB Member Robert Hunter and was a regional field attorney for the NLRB in Baltimore.
Mr. Robb earned his B.A. in economics from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
His experience and prudence will serve him well at the NLRB.
I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm Peter Robb for general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.