This pro-worker trend is likely at the end of its run, however, as President-elect Trump is expected to quickly shift the federal agency’s priorities to be decidedly more Republican-leaning and pro-employer.
The National Labor Relationship Board (NLRB) is the federal agency responsible for regulating unions and investigating labor disputes. Trump is very familiar with the NLRB – just last year more than 500 employees of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas voted to join the Culinary Workers Union. Hotel management fought the unionization effort, but was ordered to negotiate with employees after a November 3 ruling from the NLRB found that the hotel was engaging in an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain with workers.
Both parties were able to reach a settlement in late December that did allow workers to join the union. The decision also included an agreement to allow a unionization campaign effort for workers at Trump’s new hotel in Washington D.C.
While the NLRB and unions may have come out on top in this one case, Trump is likely to have the last word: As President, Trump will be able to appoint three of the five members of the NLRB. He’ll also have the power to name the agency’s general counsel, the person responsible for prosecuting unfair labor practice cases and supervising NLRB field offices in the processing of local cases. What’s more, he’ll also be responsible for nominating the next Supreme Court Justice (filling the vacant seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia after his death last year). And if even just one other seat on the court is vacated during Trump’s term in office, the Court will swing farther to the right.
All of these factors combined make it likely that the NLRB will undergo a significant shift under Trump than under Obama.