‘A disturbing sign’: Biden ruffles feathers over decision to oust NLRB general counsel

While staff turnover is common with the inauguration of a new presidential administration, some high-ranking officials typically remain in place throughout the transition period.

One such individual, National Labor Relations Board general counsel Peter Robb, was nonetheless let go shortly after President Joe Biden was sworn into office. According to the Daily Caller, the announcement came on Wednesday despite the fact that the board’s general counsel has historically been allowed to serve out his or her term when a new administration takes over.

When former President Donald Trump became president in 2017, for example, he allowed Richard Griffin, who was appointed by Barack Obama, to remain in the position throughout the completion of his term.

An ultimatum

Biden, for his part, reportedly gave Robb an ultimatum: resign or face dismissal. In a letter, the attorney made it clear that the president would have to force him out.

“I respectfully decline to resign from my Senate-confirmed four-year term appointment as General Counsel of the NLRB less than 10 months before the expiration of my term,” Robb wrote.

He went on to lay out the reasons he felt he should be allowed to serve out the remainder of his term.

“First, the removal of an incumbent General Counsel of the NLRB prior to the expiration of the term by a President of the United States is unprecedented since the nascence of the National Labor Relation Act (NLRA) and the NLRB,” Robb wrote.

Robb further noted that, since the post is supposed to be nonpartisan, Biden’s decision to oust him “would set an unfortunate precedent for the labor relations of this country that will permanently undermine the structure and thus the proper functioning of the NLRB and the NLRA.”

Undermining Congress?

According to Robb, the “action undermines Congress’s intent that the Office of the General be independent of the Board and the Executive Branch so that the General Counsel, as chief prosecutor of the NLRA, can prosecute potential violations of the NLRA free from political influence and pressure.”

Citing his “own experience” and conversations with those who previously held the position, Robb “confirmed the need for the NLRB General Counsel to act independently without constant fear of removal.”

Still, Biden followed through by firing Robb, prompting celebration by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, which lauded the new president for taking “immediate action to secure the rights and protect the well-being of America’s working families by removing Peter Robb as NLRB general counsel.”

The National Right to Work Foundation, however, had a different take, asserting in its statement on the matter that Biden’s decision “is the very opposite of a return to ‘normal’ and a disturbing sign of just how far the Biden-Harris Administration is willing to go to pay back the union bosses that helped put Biden in the White House,” according to Politico.

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