On April 24, 2009, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to fill two of the three vacant positions on National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB is comprised of five members appointed by the President who are subject to approval by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and confirmation by the full Senate. Board Members are appointed for a term of five years. The two current Board Members are Wilma B. Liebman (Democrat), who on January 20, 2009 was designated Chairman by President Obama, and Peter C. Schaumber (Republican), whose term expires on August 27, 2010.

Craig Becker is currently Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law. He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools. Becker wrote the Union’s brief to the Supreme Court in NLRB v. Kentucky River Community Care, Inc., 532 U.S. 706 (2001), which clarified — and some say expanded — the definition of who is a supervisor under the NLRA. He also argued before the Court on behalf of domestic workers in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke, 551 U.S. 158 (2007), which upheld Department of Labor regulations regarding overtime exemptions for “companionship services” under the FLSA. Becker served on the Obama-Biden Transition Team as a member of the Department of Labor Agency Review Team.

Mark Gaston Pearce is one of the founding partners of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux, which represents unions, including the United Steelworkers and Teamsters. In 2008, Pearce was appointed to the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals. He also serves on the New York State Commission on Increasing Diversity in the State Government Workforce and is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Pearce is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO and is also an adjunct faculty member at the Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations.

Although not required by law, traditionally three of the five positions on the Board are filled by members of the President’s own party. Both Becker and Pearce are Democrats. To date, no announcement has been made regarding the final opening, and President Obama has not indicated whether he will nominate a Republican.

Although the President has announced his intention to nominate Becker and Pearce, neither has been formally nominated. When the President selects a nominee for the final Board vacancy it is likely that all three individuals will be nominated and submitted for Senate approval as a package.

As always, we will keep you updated on all of the latest developments.

Proskauer’s nearly 175 Labor and Employment lawyers are capable of addressing the most complex and challenging labor and employment law issues faced by employers.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this new law or related issues, please contact one of the attorneys listed below:

                Michael J. Lebowich
                212.969.3217 – mlebowich@proskauer.com
                Peter D. Conrad
                212.969.3020 – pconrad@proskauer.com

                Allan H. Weitzman
                561.995.4760 – aweitzman@proskauer.com

                Mark W. Batten
                617.526.9850 – mbatten@proskauer.com

                Mark Theodore
                310.284.5640 – mtheodore@proskauer.com

                Marvin M. Goldstein
                973.274.3210 – mmgoldstein@proskauer.com

                Howard Shapiro
                504.310.4085 – howshapiro@proskauer.com

                Lawrence Z. Lorber
                202.416.6891 – llorber@proskauer.com

We would like to thank Steven Seidenfeld for his assistance with the preparation of this alert.