PPT Announces Probe Into National Labor Relations Board Recusal Decision

Two board members allowed to participate in case in which they have potential conflicts of interest

Today, Protect the Public’s Trust announced it was seeking information from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding the decision to allow two members of the Board to participate in a case that may present potential conflicts of interest. Board Members Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty have been granted permission to participate in a case in which the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a party despite ties to SEIU stemming from their employment prior to NLRB confirmation. NLRB members are subject to the federal ethics laws that apply to political appointees and those appointed by President Biden must agree to abide by the Biden Ethics Pledge.

In September, SEIU filed suit to challenge the NLRB’s “joint-employer” rule, which involves the ability of unions to organize employees of franchise operations. Members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives sent a letter to NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran expressing concern about potential conflicts of interest posed by the participation of Members Wilcox and Prouty in the case. The Chair responded with a letter revealing the decision of the NLRB Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) to allow the members to participate but providing virtually no other details or explanation of the decision.

In a case that could directly affect hundreds of thousands of small businesses and the millions of people they employ, the American public deserves transparency in a decision that could have an enormous impact on the case. This is especially so in light of a recent decision in a similar matter, also involving the “joint-employer” rule and possible conflicts of interest of an NLRB member, that appears to run counter to the recommendation provided to Members Wilcox and Prouty. PPT filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the information to which the American public is entitled.

“For a decision with the potential to have such profound effects on the lives and livelihoods of so many Americans, the American public deserves a level of transparency the NLRB chair has thus far not provided,” stated Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust. “It’s inconceivable that the DAEO did not give much more thought and consideration to the decision than that revealed in the Chair’s response to the Congressional letter. The NLRB should make available the communications and other records involved in the decision-making process to assure the American public the decision was given the complete and thorough consideration it deserved.”

###