From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Democrats on the Senate labor committee believe Peter Robb’s response to their inquiry late last year was inadequate, and they’ve followed up with a second letter to the National Labor Relations Board’s new top prosecutor, committee staffers said.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Patty Murray (Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, were displeased with Robb’s answers, the staffers said. They sent the latest, more specific inquiry to Robb Jan 16 asking for more detailed answers. That’s a sign that Democratic lawmakers with oversight of labor issues will continue to scrutinize President Donald Trump’s pick for NLRB general counsel.
“I think the Senators have homed in on the vagueness in the response,” William B. Gould, a Stanford Law professor and former National Labor Relations Board chairman appointed by Bill Clinton, told Bloomberg Law. “They’re really trying to put his feet to the fire.”
The senators’ first letter asked Robb a broad variety of questions about how he would administrate the NLRB general counsel’s office.
Warren and Murray asked about Robb’s views on workplace sexual harassment and asked why he selected certain precedent-setting cases from “the last eight years” for review. The pair also requested that Robb provide any communications between his office and outside parties after Jan. 19 of last year. Robb was nominated in September and confirmed by the Senate via a party-line vote about two months later.
The general counsel noted in his response to the lawmakers that he was a private practice attorney before taking the job at the NLRB. Robb said he communicated generally with “clients and colleagues about Board precedent” but couldn’t “recall any other communications that were not subject to attorney-client privilege.”
The senators followed up in their latest inquiry letter by asking Robb to detail how he made the privilege determinations—including what computer keyword searches he used—and telling him to limit his responses to the period after he was sworn in.
“Please provide this additional information by January 29, 2018,” Warren and Murray wrote.
Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee didn’t respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
Some of Warren and Murray’s questions focused on a controversial memorandum that laid out an agenda of sorts. Robb issued the memo in his first two weeks on the job.
The senators expressed concerns about the timing and Robb’s decision to review precedent-setting cases specifically from the Obama-era board.
The Obama board created “novel theories in many cases,” he said, adding that he hasn’t made any final decisions as to what policies and rules he might reverse or implement.
“The exchange really highlights the process that’s emerged over these past decades, and that’s this kind of fig leaf dance that nominees go through to try to convince the Senate that they have no formed views,” Gould said. “Of course, and I’m sure Mr. Robb is no different from others in this respect, they have very deeply formulated views that were put together prior to their nomination—that’s why they were nominated.”
The former NLRB chairman said Robb’s initial answers to the senators were vague.
Nonetheless, and despite their oversight authority over the NLRB, Warren and Murray appear to have little recourse given that the Senate labor committee still has a Republican majority.
“I assume there’s going to be a kind of standoff here since the Democrats don’t have the votes for a subpoena, and I can’t think of any Republican who would join them,” Gould said. “I think this will probably become a war of press releases and exchanges of letters, and nothing will change unless the Democrats gain control of Congress in November.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Hassan A. Kanu in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at email@example.com
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)