February 19, 2021
Communications Workers of America counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s confirmation as General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board would set the stage for the independent agency to implement extensive labor policy rewrites.
Extensive pro-worker tenure at the NLRB: Ms. Abruzzo brings nearly 23 years of NLRB experience, including serving as Deputy General Counsel under General Counsel Richard Griffin during the Obama administration and briefly as Acting General Counsel at the beginning of the Trump administration. Since leaving the Board during the Trump administration, Ms. Abruzzo has worked as a union attorney for the Communications Workers of America.
Abruzzo’s nomination follows President Biden’s termination of former General Counsel Peter Robb on his first day in office. The move broke with longstanding precedent, inviting criticism from both Republican lawmakers and former NLRB Members and General Counsels, and has already been subjected to legal challenge. This context will likely have an impact on Abruzzo’s nomination process, which could be challenged by Republicans who took issue with Robb’s termination.
Outlook: If confirmed, Abruzzo will likely be an aggressive prosecutor of alleged unfair labor practices, and her considerable prior experience at the Board sets her and the Board up well to implement the kind of comprehensive labor policy rewrites undertaken by the Obama-era NLRB. While the pending issues surrounding Robb’s termination may cloud her nomination process, a Democratic majority in the Senate makes Abruzzo’s confirmation almost certain.