This New Republican Majority May Start Undoing Obama-Era Labor Laws

The National Labor Relations Board may soon start unwinding Obama-era legislation seen by industry as favorable to labor. On Monday, Senate Republicans confirmed a second Trump nominee to the five-member board, giving it a Republican majority for the first time in the current administration.

William Emanuel will join President Trump’s first nominee, Marvin Kaplan, who was confirmed in August. He is a corporate lawyer based in Los Angeles, California—a position that led Senate Democrats, including Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Sen Patty Murray (D-Wash), to worry that he would favor industry over workers on a board they view as tasked with protecting fair working conditions and the right to collective bargaining.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said the board should act as a neutral party in the resolution of labor disputes, rather than explicitly protecting workers as his Democratic colleagues suggested. He said the board had become too activist under Obama and expressed hope that Emanuel could return it to impartiality.

For their part, industry groups said they welcomed the addition and hoped Emanuel would soon lead the board to undo Obama-era policies, including allowing employees to organize in “micro-unions” and holding franchisors responsible for franchisees’ violations of labor law.

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