Trump’s NLRB GC will Protect Right to Refrain from Joining Unions

Peter Robb, President Trump’s pick as the next general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, told a Senate panel that he would uphold the “core values” of federal labor law. He said that would include the right to “refrain” from union activity.

Robb’s statement indicates he would make it a priority for the Board to ensure the rights of employees who dissent from their union’s positions and that he would set a higher bar for unions to prove that they have majority support of workers before certifying an election. His position would be a sharp turn from general counsel Richard Griffin who strove to make union organizing easier.

Robb has practiced labor law at my go-to Vermont firm Downs Rachlin Martin since 1995. Prior to that, he served as chief counsel to NLRB member Robert Hunter.

In November 2013, Griffin was appointed as the board’s general counsel with five board members as part of a deal between Senate Republicans and the Obama administration. Griffin helped push the Board in a decidedly pro-union direction by re-evaluating exiting rules and procedures like the joint employer doctrine, which made companies potentially liable in any case where they had “indirect control” over another company’s workforce.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at