On July 22, the National Labor Relations Board swore in Jennifer Abruzzo to serve as general counsel for a four-year term. This occurred after the U.S. Senate confirmed Abruzzo on July 21 by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Prior to her appointment, Abruzzo most recently served as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for Communications Workers of America and as and a former acting general counsel for the NLRB in 2017.
The swearing in of Abruzzo comes after President Biden’s unprecedented firing of former Republican NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, along with deputy general counsel Alice B. Stock, on inauguration day, despite having 10 months left in his term with the independent agency.
On Jan. 25, Biden designated Peter Sung Ohr, a democrat NLRB regional director of Region 13 in Chicago, to serve as acting general counsel. Shortly after on Feb. 17, President Joe Biden nominated Abruzzo.
The NLRB is currently comprised of one Democrat, Chair Lauren McFerran, and three Republicans, William Emanuel, Marvin Kaplan and John Ring. However, with a potential vote in the Senate this week on the nominations of union attorney Gwynne Wilcox to fill the currently vacant fifth seat on the board and David Prouty to fill Emanuel’s seat when his term ends in August 2021, it is clear that President Biden is re-establishing a Democratic majority at the agency to advance his pro-labor agenda. It is anticipated that many board labor policies adopted during the Trump administration will be overturned in the coming year.