WASHINGTON, D.C.— PAI (Press Associates Inc. union news service)
The U.S. Senate confirmed three well-known union attorneys to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last month. The confirmations will bring a worker-friendly 3-2 majority back to the agency, along with a person from labor seated as its top lawyer.
On July 21, the Senate confirmed union attorney Jennifer Abruzzo as General Counsel. The vote was along party lines, 51-50, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. Abruzzo was Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for Communications Workers of America (CWA).
On July 28, the Senate confirmed David Prouty in a 53-46 vote. Prouty was General Counsel for New York-based Service Employees Local 32BJ. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski and Mark Sullivan of Alaska, joined all Democrats and Independents in voting for Prouty.
Prouty will replace Republican member William Emanuel, a union-busting attorney from Los Angeles whose term ends later this month.
Earlier in the day on July 28, the Senate confirmed Gwynne Wilcox by a 52-47 margin. Collins and Murkowski were the only Republicans to support Wilcox, who will be the first Black woman in NLRB history to serve on the Board.
Wilcox is a pro-worker attorney and partner in the Levy, Ratner law firm, whose offices are in the same building as the headquarters of the Office and Professional Employees in New York.
Wilcox will fill a seat that has been vacant since 2018.
Abruzzo will succeed Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr. Ohr, a NLRB regional director from Chicago, was appointed Acting General Counsel after Joe Biden was elected president. One of Biden’s first acts was to fire General Counsel Peter Robb, a Trump appointee.
Prior to joining CWA in 2017, Abruzzo worked at the NLRB for 23 years in several roles, including as acting general counsel, field attorney, supervisory field attorney, deputy regional attorney in Miami, and deputy assistant general counsel.
The General Counsel’s office wields key powers within the NLRB, which handles most labor-management relations disputes in the U.S. Her office decides what cases to bring and proposes rules that cover a wide range of labor-management issues, such as union elections.