William Emanuel, a Los Angeles-based management-side attorney, will be President Donald Trump’s second pick for the National Labor Relations Board, a move that would give the long incomplete five-member panel a Republican majority poised to adopt pro-employer stances.
The White House announced Tuesday night that Emanuel, a Littler Mendelson shareholder, would be nominated to the board, joining Marvin Kaplan, a lawyer who works at a division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Trump earlier announced his intent to nominate Kaplan.
Emanuel and Kaplan would join Republican Chairman Philip Miscimarra and Democratic members Mark Gaston Pearce and Lauren McFerran.
The Trump administration has been criticized by business groups and employer-side attorneys for its slow appointment process for vacancies to the NLRB and other agencies, stalling promises to roll back the Obama administration’s regulations. Business and industry groups have called for more balance to the existing board. Pro-union groups contend Republican claims that the board was radical under the Obama administration are overblown.
The board is set to consider or reconsider high-profile issues, including the examination of “joint employer” relationships, collective bargaining issues over “micro” units and whether graduate students should be considered employees with the right to unionize. Trump will also have an opportunity to select a new general counsel for the board, replacing Richard Griffin, later this year.
“Whoever President Trump chooses will likely be more business friendly than the current general counsel, Richard Griffin, a former union general counsel,” the law firm Ballard Spahr said in an advisory in January.
Emanuel is a member of Littler Mendelson’s Traditional Labor Practice Group. According to the firm, his clients include trade associations, hospitals and other health care institutions, school districts, transportation and logistics companies and manufacturing companies. He has experience representing business before the NLRB.
Kaplan is counsel to the commissioner for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. He previously served as the Republican workforce policy counsel for the Houston Education and Workforce Committee, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Michael Lotito, a labor attorney at Littler Mendelson and co-chairman of the Workplace Policy Institute, declined to comment on Emanuel’s nomination. He said he hopes the new appointees to the labor board will turn the panel into less of a “political body.”
No confirmation hearing dates are set. It’s unclear whether the U.S. Senate would try to confirm Kaplan and Emanuel before the August recess.