The Senate voted 49-47 yesterday to confirm William Emanuel to fill a vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the independent agency tasked with administering federal labor law in the private sector. Mr. Emanuel's term runs through August 27, 2021.

Mr. Emanuel is a management-side labor attorney from Los Angeles. He is President Donald J. Trump's second nominee to be confirmed to the NLRB. Marvin E. Kaplan's nomination was approved by the Senate in early August.

Once Mr. Emanuel is formally sworn into office, the five-member NLRB will have a Republican majority for the first time since December 2007, and a full complement of members for the first time since August 2015.

Many employers and commentators expect the new Republican majority to reverse many controversial actions taken by the NLRB during President Barack Obama's time in office, including the "ambush election" rules, and decisions paving the way for expanded joint employer liability and creation of ever-narrower "micro" bargaining units.

However, the NLRB will soon face another vacancy that could leave it deadlocked 2-2 on major issues until President Trump nominates—and the Senate confirms—a replacement. NLRB Chairman Philip Miscimarra, a Republican, will step down at the end of his term on December 16, 2017. Although Mr. Miscimarra has announced that he intends to have the NLRB issue an increased number of decisions before that date, it is unclear how quickly Mr. Emanuel will begin participating in Board decisions.

Members of Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment Group regularly counsel employers on labor and employment laws and regulations, including NLRB developments.


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