- John Ring, President Donald Trump's latest nominee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has been approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to proceed to the full Senate, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander's office (R-TN) confirmed Wednesday.
- Ring, currently a management-side labor and employment attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, would replace former NLRB chair Philip Miscimarra, whose term expired in December. Prior to Wednesday's news, the committee delayed a vote on Ring's nomination several times.
- If confirmed by the Senate, Ring would restore a 3-2 Republican majority to the board.
Ring's confirmation could still be months away, as his advancement to the full Senate does not necessarily rule out the possibility that congressional Democrats will attempt to delay the vote in hope of a "package deal," a topic of conversation among employment lawyers at the Society for Human Resource Management's employment law and legislative conference earlier this week. Democrats are apparently working to get board member Mark Gaston Pearce renominated before his term expires.
It hasn't been a quiet few months for the NLRB since Miscimarra's departure, either. The Board's changing composition has resulted in "extreme" positional shifts over the past eight years, Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler Workplace Policy Institute, previously told HR Dive, and the Board has been working quickly to reverse those Obama-era changes.
The most significant of those changes is perhaps a ruling that reversed the Browning-Ferris joint employment standard — which then changed back late February after controversy involving Board member William Emanuel. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was initially slated to weigh in on Browning-Ferris but it returned the case to NLRB following that new ruling; the Board has now asked the court to take the case back.
Even after Ring's confirmation, employers shouldn't hold their breath expecting an overnight shift on key positions. Thanks to the confirmation of Trump appointee Peter B. Robb as NLRB's general counsel, stakeholders certainly could see more cases appear before the Board that give NLRB members the opportunity to undo Obama-era shifts. But until the current 2-2 deadlock is broken, employers shouldn't expect much action.