The Biden administration announced this week that it was nominating Jennifer Abruzzo to serve as acting general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government’s top labor law enforcement agency. She is a top attorney for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and further proof that the new administration is not even making the pretense of neutrality in enforcing union rules. And he is putting smart people in charge to do that.
She has a quarter-century of experience with the NLRB, having been executive assistant to General Counsel Robert Meisburg, a George W. Bush appointee, and then did the same for Lafe Solomon, who served as a long stint acting general counsel but was never officially confirmed.
“There is no one who has a more thorough grasp of the National Labor Relations Board and the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act than Jennifer Abruzzo,” said CWA President Chris Shelton.
The NLRB’s general counsel position is functionally the same as a chief administrative officer. The agency is overseen by a five-member board, but the general counsel manages the agency’s day-to-day activities and can initiate enforcement activities on their own. The board has about 1,600 employees, the vast majority of whom report directly to the general counsel.
Abruzzo replaces Peter Robb, who was fired by President Biden despite his term not being up and it not being clear that Biden had the authority to do it. It was at the very least unprecedented.
Biden previously announced that Lauren McFerran, a sitting board member and former staffer of pro-union Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), would chair the board.