By a vote of 50 to 48 the U.S. Senate confirmed Republican John Ring as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board, giving the agency a full five member complement. Member Ring, whose term expires December 16, 2022, takes the seat previously held by Chairman Miscimarra.
The addition of Member Ring means, of course, that the Board now consists of a 3-2 majority favoring employers and can issue decisions changing current case law, something it could not do with four members split evenly along party lines. During the brief three month period when the agency last had five members (September-December 2017), it issued many decisions overturning precedent (which, to be fair, had been overturned or “clarified” in the previous 8 years). During those 90 days the Board, among other cases, eliminated micro units, restored the ability of ALJs to accept settlements over the objection of the Charging Party or General Counsel, and set forth a new standard for evaluating the legality of handbook language.
More such precedent correction can be expected in the coming months.