The Senate confirmed union attorneys Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty for seats on the National Labor Relations Board, paving the way for a 3-2 Democratic majority and dramatic changes in policy from the Board starting August 27, when Republican member William Emanuel’s term expires.
The Board is expected to quickly take pro-union positions on joint employer liability, contingent worker status, union election procedures, bargaining unit determinations, handbook policies, union access to public property, and many other areas of labor law and policy.
Gwynne Wilcox, a Senior Partner at Levy Ratner, is perhaps best known for bringing a case against McDonald's on behalf of Fight for $15 alleging joint employer liability for violations at a number of franchise locations. The Board’s traditional joint employer standard, reestablished under the Trump administration, is likely to be an early target of the newly Democratic Board, which will look to extend liability to situations where employers have only theoretical or indirect control.
David Prouty served as General Counsel for SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest service workers union in the nation.
Outlook: The NLRB will soon be in position to implement much of President Biden’s ambitious labor agenda, regardless of the fate of legislation such as the PRO Act. With NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo sworn in last week, the Board will start by expeditiously overturning the previous Board's more high-profile positions—heralding an era in which key areas of labor law are precipitously unbalanced in the process.