Republican Majority Restored as Ring Confirmed to NLRB

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 12, 2018

The Senate has confirmed John Ring, a management-side employment attorney with Morgan Lewis, to a five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Ring replaces Philip Miscimarra, whose term expired in December 2017. Ring's confirmation restores a 3-2 Republican majority to the Board.

The White House later announced that President Donald Trump also named Ring to be chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He will replace Marvin Kaplan, who was appointed as chairman in December 2017 after Miscimarra's departure. Kaplan will remain on the board, preserving the Republican majority.

The NLRB has been evenly divided since Miscimarra's departure. With a Republican majority restored, the NLRB is expected to resume efforts to replace regulations instituted by the Obama-era board in favor of more employer-friendly rulings. The Board's efforts will be helped by General Counsel Peter Robb, who has issued a memo outlining a course for readdressing and reversing many Obama-era rulings.

One issue certain to be revisited is that of joint employment. During the three month Republican majority before Miscimarra's term expired, the NLRB issued a ruling (Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors) that reversed the 2015 Browing-Ferris ruling that two entities would be considered a joint employer even if they exercised only indirect control of shared employees or reserved the right for such control.

However, the Board reversed Hy-Brand and restored the Browning-Ferris standard in the wake of an Inspector General ruling that Member William Emanuel should have recused himself from participating in that case. General Counsel Robb recently asked the Board to reconsider its decision to reverse the Hy-Brand ruling.

During Ring's confirmation hearing, Senate members questioned him about his ability to avoid conflict issues that might arise from his law practice, but it was not enough to derail the nomination.