Senate Confirms New Member of the National Labor Relations Board

By Ilyse Wolens Schuman

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed the nomination of Lauren McFerran to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

The final tally was 54-40 along party lines. McFerran – who will replace outgoing member Nancy Schiffer – will remain a member of the Board until December 16, 2019.

McFerran’s nomination came as a surprise to many, as former recess appointee Sharon Block had been President Obama’s original choice to replace Schiffer. The President unexpectedly withdrew her nomination on Nov. 12.

Still a majority of Democrats on the Board

Although Block and McFerran, currently chief labor counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), likely share a common ideology regarding labor unions, McFerran carries less political baggage.

During a HELP Committee hearing to consider McFerran’s nomination, Ranking Member Lamar Alexander, R-TN, considered the withdrawal of Block’s nomination a “gesture of respect” to the Senate following the Supreme Court’s decision in Noel Canning holding that Block’s recess appointment was unconstitutional.

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Now that the NLRB is assured continued operation with three Democratic and two Republican members for the near future, there is less of an urgency to issue the controversial expedited or “quickie” election rule, or publish decisions on an array of divisive issues. McFerran’s confirmation will not, however, delay the issuance of these rules, decisions, and other initiatives indefinitely.

The other Board members and their term expiration dates are:

This was originally published on Littler Mendelson’s Workplace Policy Update blog© 2014 Littler Mendelson. All Rights Reserved. Littler®, Employment & Labor Law Solutions Worldwide® and ASAP® are registered trademarks of Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Ilyse W. Schuman is a shareholder in the Washington, D.C. office of Littler Mendelson. She provides strategic counsel and representation to clients on a broad array of workplace issues and developments in Congress and executive branch federal agencies.

She is a member of the firm's Government Affairs practice and works with employers in multiple industries, including trade associations. She also leads the firm's Legislative and Regulatory practice.

A former top congressional staffer and policy advisor, Ilyse worked on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions from 2001 to 2008, serving as minority staff director and chief counsel. She began her work in the Senate as chief labor counsel for Senator Mike Enzi on the Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training, where she led legislative and oversight activities.

After leaving the Senate, Schuman joined a leading trade association of electro-industry manufacturers as vice president, where she served as managing director of the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, the collective voice of medical imaging equipment manufacturers. Additionally, she served as in-house counsel at a manufacturer and market and technology leader, where she advised the company on human resource matters. In law school, she was a member of the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business.

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